During the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued our collaboration between the Humanities Truck and the day laborer community that every day seek labor at the Home Depot parking lot.
This community has been hit hard by the pandemic as many got infected, others lost their homes, and very few found work.
Everyday pressures only intensified with a wave of deportations. Food insecurity also abounded. Despite these realities, old and new faces have continued to congregate in this familiar space.
Since July 2020, the Humanities Truck has continued its relationship with day laborers by engaging in much needed food distribution. Food for All-DC (FFA) provided us with grocery bags, dairy and produce boxes. Food distribution is no small thing as commitment has to be constant. People who receive food count on it on a weekly basis. For some, it is the only source of nourishment for a week. Many Fridays, the HT was at the parking lot but when it was unavailable, FFA-DC would send Eliza in a rented truck.
In this short documentary, we captured Eliza’s powerful story as an immigrant, a volunteer, and a truck driver in DC.
Student Elissa Telez Munoz at FFA with Eliza, Peter and Julio. Photo by Ludy Grandas.
Following health guidance, I counted on a few students who live in the area to go with me to the Home Depot. Some of them were from my courses, others learned about the project from social media or AU’s news outlets. I want to thank Professor Trina Ulrich who, alongside Patty Housman, once a month organized a group of teens to prepare sandwiches and collect toiletry bags for the day laborers. Also, I am grateful to students Elissa Teles Munoz, Martin Turriza, Isabel Shriver, Sofía Williamson, Luke Lynch, Ben Johansen, and Francis Fragano for assisting in packing grocery bags, loading them to the truck, coming with me as copilots and assisting in handing out the food to the day laborers. Students found the experience invaluable. Their presence and care did not go unnoticed. A testimony of this exchange was the reciprocal warm hola and gracias that abounded at the corner each Friday.