Saturday, May 16, 2020

El Pajaro Community Development Corporation Serves Up 38 Family Meals to 228 Farmworkers at First Family Dinner Initiative

Thanks to the community’s kindness and generosity, El Pajaro Community Development Corporation was able to offer 38 family meals to 228 people recently as part of its first Farmworker’s Family Dinner initiative.

Watsonville, CA, May 16, 2020 — Thanks to the community’s kindness and generosity, El Pajaro Community Development Corporation was able to offer 38 family meals to 228 people recently as part of its first Farmworker’s Family Dinner initiative.

“We started the Farmworker’s Family Dinner initiative to honor our communities’ farmworkers and to give each of them a ‘break’ from cooking dinner for one night,” said El Pajaro CDC Executive Director Carmen Herrera Mansir. “We figured that after a 12-plus-hour day of very hard work under the sun, having someone else make a warm and delicious meal for the whole family is a great treat.”

The first week’s dinner was made by Cuevas Express Food and RoguePye.

The program also helped increase sales for food entrepreneurs who have experienced a drastic drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis. Some of the entrepreneurs are not eligible for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that Congress passed on March 27, 2020, or other relief programs. These are families that lost 75-100% of their income.

“Thanks to the success of this initiative, our team decided to make the Farmworker’s Family Dinner an ongoing program,” said Herrera Mansir. “Our goal is to provide 10 family dinners every night from Monday to Saturday. I hope the community will continue to support us. Please share this opportunity with your friends and network.”

Farmworkers and their families were ecstatic about the dinner:

“Our workers were very happy, they were in awe, they felt pampered!” said Javier Zamora, owner of JSM Organics farm. “Our H-2B Visa workers could not believe they were getting such a big and delicious meal. Everyone loved Esthela Cuevas’ food.”

Zamora loved the food so much that he is now planning to hire the Cuevas family (of Cuevas Express Food) to make meals for JSM farm workers.

“My wife is going to be sooo happy because she will NOT have to cook tonight,” said Gabino, a sole breadwinner and father of four who works at JSM.

El Pajaro farm-partners Zamora and Rogelio Ponce at Sun Valley Farms, both small local farmers, donate the delicious organic strawberries used to make El Pajaro’s house-branded strawberry jam. (Available online at:

In addition, Herrera Mansir expressed her gratitude to Cesario Ruiz, El Pajaro’s Kitchen Program Manager, and Izuyah Sanchez, kitchen assistant, for making this dinner “magic” happen.

To help support the Farmworker’s Family Dinner, go to:

For questions about the initiative, call El Pajaro Community Development Corporation at (831) 722-1224 or by email at

About Pajaro CDC
In 1979, El Pájaro CDC was formed following widespread community support of under-represented Latino and Spanish-speaking business owners in Watsonville. For 40 years El Pajaro has helped budding entrepreneurs throughout the Central Coast by offering technical, legal, financial and managerial assistance.

“If you give someone an opportunity it can change lives, and lead to generations of success,” said Carmen Hererra-Mansir, executive director of El Pajaro CDC. “To see a journey from farmworker to entrepreneur — many started that way when they came to us — is so rewarding.”

El Pájaro CDC offers a wide range of assistance, including low-cost and often free bilingual business education and training workshops to low-income entrepreneurs. Workshops cover business plan preparation, marketing and sales, customer service, bookkeeping, computer basics, business management, and financial literacy.

In 1997, El Pajaro Plaza Vigil a retail business incubator at 23 Beach St. in downtown Watsonville was created to assist low- to moderate-income, Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs with starting and operating a successful business.

Plaza Vigil houses dozens of businesses, with another 44 food purveyors using the separate Commercial Kitchen Incubator Program, a fully equipped, shared-use facility at 412 Riverside Drive.

Following a charter expansion in 2007, El Pájaro CDC serves Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. Bilingual and bicultural services businesses development services and trainings are available to anyone with plans to open or expand a small business in the region.

Marci Bracco Cain
Chatterbox PR
Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 747-7455

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