Some Gainesville migrant workers were able to check off items on their “wish list” during the holiday season thanks to the help from students and faculty of the College of Medicine.
Diana C. Narvaez, a medical student from the class of 2012, passed out toys, clothes and even cash to six migrant families living in Gainesville during the holiday season. Migrant workers are usually immigrants who are paid low wages to perform manual labor in agricultural fields.
“The families’ wishes included paying the electricity bill and buying toys and groceries,” said Narvaez, who is a member of the Hispanic American Medical Student Association. “We were able to fulfill many of the items on their lists.”
The idea to help migrant workers began August 2008 in Narvaez’s interdisciplinary family health class when students were matched with underserved families. Narvaez’s group was paired with Gainesville migrant workers.
“I remember when I began to visit the migrant workers at their homes,” she explained. “They live all bunched up in trailers, and I really saw the need to help them in many ways.”
Last Christmas she brought them used clothes and groceries. This Christmas she wanted to step it up a notch.
“I knew I wanted to do more this Christmas because there are so many generous people here at the College of Medicine,” Narvaez said.
After sending out e-mails to classmates and faculty asking for help to bring Christmas to the migrant families, she soon realized how many resources she had at the College of Medicine.
“Faculty and students were so willing to give,” she said. “It helped me realize it doesn’t take up that much of our time to really do something special for people.”