In October, the Day Worker Center of Mountain view celebrated its 25th year serving Mountain View and surrounding communities. While many things have changed since the pandemic, such as limiting the number of people onsite to just staff, the center has continued to match workers with employers as well as continuing to connect, refer, and provide workers and community members with any basic immediate resources they may need.
From March 2020 to March 2021, the center placed an average 763 workers a month in jobs. Employers are encouraged to call or make a reservation online; workers are called when a job comes up and then go to the job site.
Through the Healthy Meals program, the center offers free freshly made breakfast Monday through Saturday (7:30-8:30 a.m.) and lunch Monday through Sunday (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) to go. In 2020, the center served and distributed 23,983 meals to the community, an increase of 340% compared to the year before.
One-on-one English classes are offered for workers by volunteers through Zoom or Whatsapp. ESL coordinator Gwen has worked with Juan, a member of the center, for months via Whatsapp. Gwen recalls how Juan inspired her after taking the initiative to memorize one of his favorite songs in English, "Imagine" by John Lennon. Executive Director Maria Marroquin reflected on the relationship ESL teachers build with workers, saying, “I am thrilled that Juan chose the song "Imagine." The phrase 'I know I am a dreamer but I am not the only one' struck me really hard. This emotion is what the center is about."
The Day Worker Center is able to conduct direct outreach and provide resources to our most vulnerable community members through the WISE program. The Center has partnered with Santa Clara County, the city of Mountain View, the Mountain View Whisman School District and local businesses to set up a mobile unit that offers resources such as free masks and hand sanitizers. During our outreach, community members also have the opportunity to learn about the information and resources regarding worker rights, COVID-19 tests and vaccines, and other social safety net services that are offered by Santa Clara County, the city and local community-based organizations. Because of our direct outreach, WISE has been able to ensure that the information and resources that are offered to be equally distributed to folks in the community. In late March, WISE worked in collaboration with Santa Clara Valley Medical to ensure that our neighbors who reside in RVs and vehicles have an opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19, ensuring that our most vulnerable community members are protected.
While the pandemic has called for various adaptations, the center has nevertheless banded together to support the community. One new program at the Day Worker Center is sewing. At the beginning of the pandemic, a group of workers came together and made over 17,000 face masks that were donated to community members and various organizations such as Hope’s Corner, El Camino Hospital and The National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). This project was a community effort because while workers contributed their time and talents, community members provided the cloth used to make the masks.
A current project of the program is a collaboration with Days for Girls International, a nonprofit organization that distributes sustainable menstrual health supplies to girls around the world. Workers have made over 400 fabric bags for kits that were distributed to women and girls in rural and indigenous areas in more than 200 countries around the world.
The Day Worker Center of Mountain View is located at 113 Escuela Ave. in Mountain View and is a beneficiary of the Mountain View Voice's 2021 Holiday Fund. For more information about the center, call 650-903-4102 or visit our website at dayworkercentermv.org.