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Esperanza Community Center helps families during COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted at 1:17 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 18:02:51-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Stepping up to help Hispanics find the resources they need to become empowered.

The Esperanza Community Center in West Palm Beach opened its doors one year ago, never imagining how much it would be needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I do carpentry and paint as well," said Noel Roblero.

Those are the kinds of jobs that day laborers are hired for on the spot. They negotiate a wage and get to work, only to return the next day a do it again.

"We have been working with the workers for about a year, establishing a relationship, that trust, and it's growing," said Maricela Torres, the interim executive director of the Esperanza Community Center.

Torres fought to open the center more than a year ago when she saw day laborers standing outside every day looking for work, rain or shine.

"There has to be another solution than the men standing out here waiting for work," Torres said.

The community center was born and the mission became to find a facility that could become a labor center for these workers to safely wait for jobs.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

"All of a sudden we found ourselves pivoting and the resources that we needed weren't there," Torres said.

Partnerships paved the way to help families pay rent and buy groceries. Now the donations flow in with baby products, school supplies, and clothing for children and parents.

"We used to just know the workers. Now we know their families, their children, their wives," Torres said.

Out of that relationship, workshops were created to educate and empower.

"The moms are hungry for information. The dads, they want to take care of their families," Torres said.

Roblero's goal every day is to find honest work and put food on the table. He just hopes more organizations step up to help the Esperanza Community Center do all it's meant to do.

"If they can help us here at the work stop, maybe with a tent for shelter from the sun, or a place where we can wait," Roblero said.

To learn more about the Esperanza Community Center, click here.