In Kennett Square, the Philadelphia suburb with an agriculture industry that earned it a reputation as the Mushroom Capital of the World, a 45-year-old nonprofit with a deep history of providing health services to the town’s l0w-income Latino farm workers has rebranded.
Ninety percent of the organization’s constituents, said Community Engagement Manager Laura Milazzo Mackiewicz, prefer to speak Spanish, their native language.
“But we serve everyone,” said Milazzo Mackiewicz. “We just happen to do it in two languages.”
It’s a bit of a marketing challenge, she said. That’s why the nonprofit rebranded last year and began embracing its acronym.
“The reality is, we were founded for the Latino community here in a specific industry,” said Milazzo Mackiewicz.
Unlike agriculture in other parts of the country, mushroom farming in Kennett Square is an industry that never sleeps. Year-round work means laborers don’t need to move to pursue other opportunities. It gives farm workers a chance to settle down — and LCH a chance to provide them with consistent health and education services such as childcare, citizenship classes, a new dental health center and more.
It’s good news for the local mushroom industry, which cannot succeed without a healthy, capable workforce. And since 70 percent of LCH’s constituents are uninsured (though they help those who are eligible for insurance to obtain it), it’s safe to say the center plays an important role in keeping Kennett’s economic engine running, said Milazzo Mackiewicz.
“It’s very much a sanctuary,” she said. “Health and wellness of people in the county is only as strong as the most vulnerable who are here.”-30-
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