Photo By: Howard Bischoff/Town Crier
The Day Worker Center of Mountain View is joining forces with the Kiwanis Club of Los Altos this holiday season to help with the heavy lifting at the Kiwanis Tree Lot.
When Los Altos Kiwanis Club member Douglas Roberts hired some men from the Day Worker Center of Mountain View earlier this year, he struck up a conversation with Eddie, a worker who shared that his daughter had received a scholarship from the club.
“It was so great to find someone in the community who was so grateful and supportive of his daughter’s scholarship,” Roberts said.
Later in the year, when Roberts was helping plan for the club’s annual Kiwanis Tree Lot, he learned there was a need for labor at the tree lot this year.
“I saw that there was a need in the tree lot and I remembered Eddie and those workers and that experience,” Roberts said.
Roberts subsequently met with Maria Marroquín, executive director of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, to discuss the details of staffing the lot with local day workers.
The Day Worker Center provides a safe community space for workers to connect with employers, although it does not actively broker employment. The Kiwanis Club’s need and the Day Worker Center’s services – they were a perfect fit, Roberts said.
“It is kind of a miracle,” Marroquín said. “It just came from heaven. It is a win-win situation.”
Marroquín said jobs for the laborers dwindle during the holiday season, largely due to the inclement weather.
“This is coming at a good time for the Day Worker Center,” she said. “This time of year is one of our biggest concerns, because a lot of the jobs stop coming in because of the cold, rainy season.”
Contributing toward a good cause, one where they can give back to the community, is another benefit of the partnership, according to Marroquín. Proceeds from the Kiwanis Tree Lot fund grants and scholarships for local youth.
Day workers will maintain the tree lot, tending to the trees, cutting the trunks, delivering trees and helping customers load them in or on their vehicles. Kiwanis volunteers will work as salespeople on the lot.
Marroquín said the exposure for day workers would benefit the center. The workers will wear Day Worker Center shirts, so customers will see them in action.
“I’m so happy and overwhelmed with gratitude for this great opportunity,” she said. “I hope this will help us get more jobs through this opportunity.”
The Kiwanis Tree Lot, located in the Lucky’s parking lot at Foothill Expressway and Arboretum Drive, opens 9 a.m. Friday. Hours are 3-7:30 p.m. weeknights and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sundays through Dec. 16.
For more information, visit www.kiwanistrees.org. Traci Newell is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Los Altos.