‘Somos vecinos’ means ‘we are neighbors’ in Spanish. We strive to be good neighbors to the farmworkers in our communities and we hope for a safe place to work and live for all agricultural workers in our country.” ~ Vecinos Website
Vecinos is nonprofit organization in Western North Carolina supported by the North Carolina Farmworker Health Program since February, 2004. The mission of Vecinos began in April of 2001 when its founders, Josie Ellis, RN and Dr. Mark Heffington began visiting migrant labor camps in Jackson County, NC. Vecinos continues to serve farmworkers in the region by providing free primary and preventative medical outreach, health education, and case management services. While they have experienced much transition and growth since the beginning, their mobile model of care remains the same. Services are taken directly to farmworkers in order to break through the many barriers they face when it comes to accessing health care. Vecinos also has a wide variety of programs and community initiatives which support farmworkers including a mobile clinic, group classes for diabetics and family nutrition, a food pantry for local farmworker families, and a car seat program.
NCFHP is pleased to highlight one of Vecinos’ various initiatives to connect farmworkers with other members of the community. During the summer of 2015, Vecinos started the “Feed the Fields” program through which members of the Swain Community Hospital Nutrition Department prepared, delivered and served lunch to farmworkers at the farms. These weekly meals were shared by hospital staff, farmworkers and their families, and members of Vecinos.