Spanish was the language that welcomed everyone and announced dinner to the bustling crowd of Hispanic workers, parents, children, and visitors gathered at the end-of-the-season community potluck fiesta dinner in Palisade on Wednesday, Oct. 29.
The dinner was held at the Child & Migrant Services’ Hospitality Center (El Centro de Hospitalidad) at the corner of Peach Avenue and Highway 6.
Young and old crowded the room, conversations flowed, and the aroma of simmering food filled the room. An estimated 70 to 80 adults and youngsters arrived, and many took turns serving themselves food, such as chile verde, pozole, enchiladas, and ceviche, a seafood dish.
Karalyn Dorn, program coordinator for Child & Migrant Services (CMS), said in an interview at the dinner that both CMS and the Migrant Head Start program in Grand Junction sponsored the event. The Head Start program serves 180 migrant children and their families in Mesa and other counties who come from May to October to work in agriculture.
“We decided to do it together,” Dorn said confidently, standing in the busy room set up for the dinner, although she said that the attendance was much greater than expected. In her welcome before dinner, she invited people to also sit outside.
Lola Becerra, Lolis Leon, Mily Talamanetes, and toddler Pedro Talamantes sat across the table from Andrew. Also seated at the table were Gladies Leon and Lupe Becerra.
“We had LOTS of people at the potluck last night,” Dorn wrote the next day on Facebook. “We ran out of space, but we did not run out of food! We even had a friend join us from Mexico, via Skype.” See: www.facebook.com/palisade.childmigrantservices. The website says that for the most current activities, see the Facebook page.
Dorn noted later in an email, “I also go by ‘Karolina,’ as that’s easier for Spanish speakers to say than my name (Karalyn) in English.”
Palisade, and the area, is known for its agriculture, notably peach orchards and grape vineyards. “During the peak season, over 1,200 farm workers and dependents reside in Mesa County,” the CMS website explains. The majority of these workers are from Mexico, but there are others from all over the world, it notes.
“Some are here for a portion of the year and others are settled in the area,” it continues.
“CMS is about a community of farm workers, growers and others who are drawn to the mission of CMS,” the website states.
Dorn noted that farm workers’ duties throughout the year include pruning trees in fall and winter. “CMS will remain open to provide a variety of social and educational services to Mesa County’s farm workers and their families throughout the year,” she said on the website.
“CMS provides hot meals during the harvest season, job-related assistance, coaching of life skills, shower facility, translation, transportation and referrals,” the website points out. Also, “CMS makes available various donated items (non-perishable food, clothing, personal care items, household goods, etc.); and accompanies workers to special appointments.”
The services include English as a Second Language classes, social activities, and also emotional and financial support to help workers and families that encounter crisis situations. See the website for more information about services: http://www.migrantservicesgv.org.
An estimated 70 to 80 adults and youngsters enjoyed the fiesta potluck dinner held on Oct. 29 at the Child & Migrant Services’ Hospitality Center in Palisade.
The Migrant Ministry Community Thrift Shop, next to the Hospitality Center, is run by volunteers from Palisade churches. In addition, proceeds from tamales sales benefit the provision of services by CMS. The board of directors meets once a month. The website can be viewed in English and Spanish.
“Child & Migrant Services (CMS) was founded by three amazing women in 1954: Ms. Vera Foss, Ms. Margaret Talbott and Ms. Dorothy Power,” the website reports.
“At a time when treatment of migrant farm workers in the US was often dismal, and when the voices of women were often not heard, these women and others like them made tremendous contributions. Agricultural labor practices in Mesa County are better than in many other places largely because of their dedication and compassion,” the site points out.
To contact Migrant Services, send a message through the website, email at email@example.com, or call 970-464-5226.