ABOUT LA CLINIQUITA
For decades, Brightwood Health Center has worked with the Connecticut River Valley Farmworker Program (CRVFWP) and its other community partners to provide health care to workers living on farms in the Connecticut River Valley. These migrant farmworkers spend summers in the North and winters in the South, following the “stream” established by the seasonal availability of farm work. A small number are part of the government’s guest farmworker (H2A) program and go back to their own country at the end of the season.However, many others live year-round in the area, working on local farms in spring through fall as work is available. Many started out as migrant workers and settled down.The majority of both the seasonal and migrant workers are Spanish-speaking, coming from Central America and Mexico. Many have lived in or regularly visited the area for more than a decade and are married and have children born in Springfield.Finally, there are many immigrants, the majority again from Mexico, the Dominican Republic or Central America, who may have come to the area to work in agriculture but have found work in local nurseries, restaurants, hotels, factories or homes. Their jobs are among the hardest in our society and generally offer low wages, difficult working conditions, inadequate safety protections and little job security. They work harder than most of us can imagine, pay taxes and, despite the Massachusetts universal health insurance program, they have little or no access to health care. Most are not eligible to receive the CRVFWP benefits.
The majority of our patients are men but there are many women as well. In recent years there have been increasing numbers of unaccompanied teenagers and pre-adolescents who have sought our services. These are the people La Cliniquita is designed to serve and is serving now.
Immigrants and farmworkers in the Connecticut River Valley are low-wage workers who, frequently, cannot qualify for state- and federally-funded healthcare programs. This creates a barrier to care that has often been insurmountable: men and woman go for years without seeing a healthcare provider except for trips to the emergency room.
The Connecticut River Valley Farmworker Program provides significant but limited services to this community, and is unavailable to low-wage immigrants who work in other sectors. La Cliniquita was founded to fill the void, to provide medicines, medical supplies, needed specialty care and food to those with no other options.
One Monarch Place, Suite 400
01144 Springfield, MA