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OFB Surpasses GoFundMe Goal

A recent tragedy has led to an amazing display of community support.

Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) recently surpassed a fundraising goal of $55,000 as over 600 farms, ranches, businesses, individuals, county Farm Bureaus, state Farm Bureaus, farmworker advocates, and others contributed to a fund to support the families of the farmworkers affected by a devastating car crash last month. The farmworkers were employed by well-respected OFB member J. Ruiz Farm Labor Contracting from the Willamette Valley. The incident left several families grieving and facing unimaginable challenges. However, the outpouring of generosity from the agriculture community and its supporters has been a testament to the power of solidarity and the resilience of a tight-knit community.

On May 18, a northbound semi-truck struck a van parked alongside Interstate 5, which was transporting eleven farmworkers. Multiple families were affected with seven of the workers dying and others left with serious physical and emotional injuries. The aftermath of the accident left families, friends, coworkers and their employer reeling with emotions. It is expected that workers compensation and other insurance will cover much of the medical costs. However, the families still face significant challenges and the financial burden of recovery and loss of income. The incident struck a chord with OFB, an organization dedicated to supporting farmers, ranchers, and rural communities across the state. Recognizing the urgent need for assistance, OFB took swift action to make a difference. Three days after the accident, OFB launched a GoFundMe campaign aimed at providing financial relief for the families. 100% of all money received by OFB through this effort went directly to all eleven of the families affected by this tragedy.

“The loss of these hardworking individuals has undoubtedly created a void in the lives of their loved ones and our community,” said Greg Addington, Oregon Farm Bureau’s Executive Director. “Their unwavering spirit to provide for their families and contribute to the growth and prosperity of our state was evident. Individually and as an organization, we extend our unwavering support as we mourn the lives of these individuals.”

The GoFundMe campaign exceeded its goal, and on June 22 OFB President Angi Bailey and Executive Director Greg Addington met with some of the families and survivors to present them with funds and extend the condolences of the agricultural community. This stands as a testament to the resilience and compassion of the entire community. The outpouring of generosity has provided much-needed support to the families grappling with the aftermath of this tragedy, offering hope, healing, and the reassurance that they are not alone.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to everybody that contributed to this effort. OFB also wishes to acknowledge and thank PCUN, the farmworker union that also raised funds and has worked with OFB to connect us with family members and next of kin.

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