Farm Worker Shelter May Close Doors Facing Funding Shortage

Farm Worker Shelter May Close Doors Facing Funding Shortage

Max Rodriguez

The overnight shelter by the Galilee Center may close its doors after the loss of $150,000 from its main donor through what they are calling a “philosophical difference”, however, the founders are not seeing this as a loss, instead, as an opportunity to grow their list of donors.

The Galilee Center in Mecca is a non-profit organization that gives out weekly baskets of food for free, helps pay bills for low-income households, and also runs an overnight shelter for farm works where upwards of 100 people stay overnight at height of harvest season.

Claudia Castorena is a co-founder of the organization and she said the shelter is facing a serious shortage of funding.

Castorena said, “We still have funding to remain open for a couple of months, maybe less, maybe more.”

The funding shortage began when its main donor, the Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad Foundation, pulled a donation of $150,000 meant towards the shelter after it opened its doors to asylum seeking families for a few months.

Castorena said, “It’s a private donation that was pulled because of differences in philosophy and we respect that, we are very open and very respectful for that.”

The asylum seekers were placed inside the shelter at the request of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino that funded their stay.

She said, “For a few months Galilee Center was housing asylum seekers, families with children, 52 percent actually were children.”

Castorena said the relationship between the organization and the donor remains positive, and she continues to welcome their donation.

In the meantime, they hope the community can help pitch-in as grape harvest, one of the busiest seasons begins in a couple of months.

Castorena said, “This is a great opportunity despite the fact that we indeed loss private funding, it’s an opportunity for the community to be of help.”

The Galilee Center is now relying on the help of the community more than ever, simply follow the link to help