Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
Immokalee: Spring Break '10
Over the course of the Immokalee spring break service trip, students engaged in various types of service relating to issues of migrant farm workers and their families. Immokalee, the town that rhymes with broccoli, is one of the largest agricultural hubs of tomato production in Florida. The town's population is made up of people from Mexican, Haitian, and Guatemalan descent. The combination of undocumented workers and a general distaste for Hispanic immigrants has fueled the agricultural industry's ability to control the worker's general freedoms and to continue to pay them sub-poverty wages.
One of the organizations who Eckerd students worked alongside was the CIW (Coalition of Immokalee Workers). The CIW has been a maverick in the Campaign for Fair Food against corporations such as Taco Bell, McDonalds, and Subway (all of whom have agreed to support fair wages and just treatment of tomato pickers). Eckerd students helped the CIW with their most current campaign against Publix by planning for and designing campaign signs for the upcoming protest. Students also worked with Habitat for Humanity on a home build project that was already in progress. A main service site was with the Sanders Pines Community Center, a place where the students helped with childcare, landscaping, and administrative work in exchange for a place to sleep.
The bonds formed over the course of the trip with the individuals and the organizations of the Immokalee community have been an important part of extending Eckerd's outreach initiative. The students not only became aware of important social justice issues but also learned about the importance of community service and its impact on the betterment of human-kind.