It’s harvest season in Tennessee! Farmworkers and their families have been moving here since June from states such as Florida and Georgia in order to work in fields cultivating and picking crops like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers—an essential service undeterred by the pandemic. As children of migratory farmworkers start this new school year, they juggle adjusting to school in a new state on top of the changes brought on by COVID-19.
To support migratory students as they return to school, Conexión Américas carried out a contactless delivery of school supplies to families across Tennessee. Thanks to the generous donations of hundreds of Tennesseans, Conexión Américas collected 500 back to school kits for migratory students which included paper, glue sticks, colored pencils and other basic supplies. Dozens of volunteers helped pack the school supplies, safely in a socially distanced team effort.
At Conexión Américas we support migratory students, the children of agricultural workers, by addressing their unique educational needs so that they have full and appropriate opportunities to meet the same academic standards as all other children. Conexión Américas also received a special donation from Bed Bath and Beyond, who donated essential goods and home equipment to migratory families. The team and volunteers sorted and organized the donations to be dispersed throughout the state.
The first stop along the way was Cookeville, Tennessee where a generous donation of 210 brand new books to give to migratory children was added to the back to school kits, thanks to a collaboration with the Upper Cumberland Regional Library. Our staff members met in Cookeville to collect supplies that will be distributed in Putnam, Cumberland, Rhea and Bledsoe counties.
Our team continued to Knoxville, where they divided supplies in order to reach students in several rural East Tennessee counties including Hamblen, Loudon, Knox, and Jefferson.
The donated supplies will now reach over 500 migratory students throughout the state, many of whose parents are essential workers, as they cultivate and pick the food we eat everyday. We are so grateful for all that these families contribute to Tennessee.