Behind every sublime glass of Willamette Valley pinot noir are thousands of farmworkers, often Spanish speaking, who harvest clusters of grapes at just the right time.
For 30 years, ¡Salud!, has stepped in to ensure that those Latinx farmworkers—who often have a temporary status with employers, making them ineligible for traditional insurance coverage—gain access to much-needed health care. A joint effort between winery owners and the Tuality Healthcare Foundation at Oregon Health & Science University Health Hillsboro Medical Center, the nonprofit served over 3,000 workers and their families last year, according to manager of philanthropy Stephanie Buchanan.
“¡Salud! services is the best of bilingual, bicultural care for Oregon’s vineyard workers and their families,” Buchanan says. “Because of the pandemic and labor shortages everywhere, getting access to care for anyone is super challenging.”
The nonprofit employs mobile health units to provide on-site comprehensive health care services. It also helps farmworkers navigate the byzantine health care system by booking appointments with specialists and accessing resources to pay for that care. No other state has such a far-reaching program assisting the seasonal worker population.
When COVID arrived, Buchanan says ¡Salud! had the credibility and history with the community to encourage vaccines and provide testing. “People trust the program,” she says.
Luckily, the best way to support this ongoing work is to keep being a wine lover: The organization is funded entirely by donations and fundraising, particularly its massive annual pinot noir auction, set this year for Nov. 11-12. Mark those calendars to snag top-notch wine and support a good cause.