On July 14, Linda, Fred, Nora and her husband Eugene visited the Ramada Inn to deliver donated food to asylum seekers living there.
The security man outside the door of the hotel asked why we had come, then sent us through the lobby where tables were set up across from the hotel check in desk. We walked into the back where a table was set
up to distribute donated food. Terri from the town of Newburgh Democratic
Committee joined us with their donations.
Edwardo, an immigrant, came from another hotel to help distribute the food. His trip from Nicaragua took him 3-4 months and he said the most difficult part of the trip was crossing the body of water into the U.S. Other men we met were between age 20 and 50s from Guyana, Venezuela and Mauritania. Out of the 60 men in this hotel, about 20 were studying English” for better job possibilities.” The men want to work (any job) but it’s difficult since they are legally required to wait 6 months for work permits. There’s plenty of work to be found. Employers stop by most days looking for day workers.
As the men chose from the items on our table such as toothbrushes, canned tuna fish, jarred relish, mushroom soup, bagged popcorn, and a lot of snack type foods. Edwardo leaned over to me and said, “Some of this food makes my stomach upset. We eat rice, beans, tomatoes and corn tortillas at home.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: I just learned that the hotels will now allow the men to use the hotel kitchens but they need to provide their own equipment. More to follow. Fareground Food & Community, a women-run food justice, anti- hunger nonprofit with a focus on nourishing food and accessibility will send fresh vegetables and foods once a month to the two hotels. Edwardo will be able to prepare his favorite foods!