Sister Rosa Dolores Rodruguez shows off one of numerous masks she and others are making at Casa de la Cultural in Pajaro in response to combatting the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. —contributed

PAJARO—Joining a worldwide effort to stave off the spread of COVID-19, Sister Rosa Dolores and a team of six volunteers have started a production line of masks at Casa de la Cultura in Pajaro.

The group has made more than 100 masks and is working on making 300 more. They will distribute them around the Pajaro Valley to “people that need them,” Dolores said.

“We are busy working very carefully,” she said. 

Additionally, Dolores said she received food from the Salinas Food Bank Monday morning, which her group will deliver to workers in agricultural fields around Las Lomas. 

“We’re having a hard time because some of these people are not able to work,” she said. “I’m focusing on single parents; some of them are working a few days a week. These folks are living paycheck to paycheck with no other resources. All of them are farmworkers.”

She said the food distribution her group is involved with started several weeks ago.

“We started a while back, quietly in Pajaro,” she said. “We finally located a place in Las Lomas to serve as a transfer site. We’re able to do this because we’re small, so we can be flexible. We’re just doing what we have to do.”

Casa de la Cultural was founded in 1996 and has played a crucial role in aiding low-income residents, especially farmworkers, with food, clothing and other necessities. They also operated a free medical clinic for 20 years, though it closed recently when the doctor with the program retired. 

“The clinic was run only by donations,” Dolores said. “And we are still doing our diabetes testing. We are seeing success all over the place and the reason is simple: Time, care and compassion—that’s what has kept this going throughout all these years. And now Easter has given us hope.”

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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