Cheree Schiele is an active Master Food Preserver (MFP) in the greater Sacramento area. The MFP program is part of the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources. Cheree preserves her fruits, vegetables, and meats and teaches the public to practice safe canning, dehydration, and freezing processes. She comes from a family of beet, potato and safflower farmers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cheree has been making face coverings for the local and regional hospitals. When California AgrAbility staff and Cheree connected, a the conversation about personal protective equipment in healthcare and in farms naturally came up.
Cheree quickly prioritized making face coverings for farmers and farmworkers. With her friends, Diana Sumrow and Sally Emslander who were also deeply invested in supporting farmers and farmwokers, they donated over 150 face coverings. AgrAbility staff mailed and dropped off these face masks, a new type of assistive device, to program participants. Staff also distributed masks to a local farming community and clinic. AgrAbility farmers and farmworkers continue working while living with conditions including diabetes, arthritis and cardiovascular diseases that make them even more vulnerable to COVID-19. These helpers were clear in their message: “Farmers and farmworkers, we are in this together. Stay safe!”