Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) is a non-profit regional law firm that provide high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.
Outreach in the Midst of COVID
LAWO seeks to reach all the agricultural workers and farmworker camps in the State through an extensive outreach plan. For 2021, that includes 196 agricultural camps and other locations where agricultural workers work, live, or gather. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic we developed an outreach strategy and safety protocols to safely reach farmworkers and families and minimize exposure to COVID-19.
We adjusted our outreach plan from an evening, in-person, door-to-door outreach activity to a daytime, no-contact outreach effort. To protect our outreach materials from the weather, we used a customized sturdy non-transparent bag with a handle and zip lock top with LAWO and ABLE's logos and contact information in English and Spanish. The bag contained a welcome letter to farmworkers, the harvest calendar, work record booklet, H-2A brochure, tax brochure, ABLE's Know Your Rights booklet and card, a COVID-19 CDC factsheet, a Justice for Migrant Women's Know Your Rights card against sexual harassment, and our business cards.
In 2020, the outreach staff visited 92 agricultural camps in 27 counties. The outreach staff visited 176 housing units and reached 759 workers. The staff distributed 931 H-2A brochures, which inform workers about their rights as H-2A workers; 1,214 harvest calendars, which include summaries of laws about employment, domestic violence, education, field sanitation, housing, and immigration; 909 work record books, which provide agricultural workers with a means of documenting the dates and hours of employment and their wages received; 417 tax handouts and brochures; and 475 business cards. We also distributed 909 COVID-19 CDC factsheets in Spanish and English and 474 masks and toiletries. The outreach team also conducted outreach in 2020 at 14 businesses in Cuyahoga, Lake, Putnam, Sandusky, and Stark counties, providing them with 205 harvest calendars; visited two health clinics; and provided the Ohio Migrant Education Center (OMEC) 100 legal bags complete with our materials.