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Benefit concert held for Half Moon Bay farmworkers navigating difficult year

"Without them, we would not eat. So their work is so sacred."

By Tim Johns Wednesday, September 20, 2023

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- On Tuesday night, Gilroy-based nonprofit Earth to Table hosted a benefit concert for farmworkers in Half Moon Bay.

"Without them, we would not eat. So their work is so sacred," said Juanita Chavez.

The event featured a variety of performers, as well as speakers.

Its goal was to highlight some of the struggles faced by local farmworkers - some of whom were in the crowd.

"The smiles on their face tonight. Seeing them onstage and also just them coming out of their environment to see how much the community appreciates them, honestly it really means a lot," said Belinda Arriaga.

Arriaga is the founder of ALAS - one of the beneficiaries of the fundraiser.

She says the past year has been especially difficult for many in the community.

First, with the mass shooting that left seven dead, and then with the heavy winter storms that flooded many fields and put many out of work.

"With the donations, with the funding that we get, we're able to turn around and buy resources for them," Arriaga said.

Some of those resources include things like economic assistance as well as mental health counseling.

Beyond the money raised, some workers like Ramon Sonqui Martinez say it was just nice to feel appreciated.

He spoke to ABC7 News with the help of a translator.

"I feel really happy. My blood is pumping and I actually wanted to dance," he said.

Organizers say they hope this benefit concert is the first of many more to come.

Because for them, the hard work is worth it.

"We must uplift, we must respect, and we must advance the rights and protections of farmworkers who are toiling every day," said Chavez.

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