LUPE finds permanent location in San Benito

SAN BENITO — With their heads bowed and in a chorus, the group began with the Farm Worker’s Prayer and ended in a chant.

Si se puede.

LUPE, an organization dedicated to providing resources and assisting communities, held a ribbon-cutting yesterday to celebrate its new permanent location in Cameron County.

The organization that works with various agencies to assist the needs of the community and residents of the colonias has found a new home in San Benito to better help members.

Residents and community members were invited to stop by the new location of LUPE on Sam Houston Boulevard to tour the new facility and visit with different agencies such as Planned Parenthood and the Cameron County Public Health Department.

Those in attendance were also provided the opportunity to receive a free hair cut or health screening.

Before moving to its new location, organizers from LUPE worked out of a small office where they were unable to meet their client’s needs and were not open to the public.

Fund development and system strategist Tania Chavez said the organization mapped out where its Cameron County members were located before settling on making San Benito its official location.

“All the community of San Benito has been very welcoming,” Chavez said.

LUPE serves 8,000 members, 700 of which are located in Cameron County.

Valleywide, the organization assists more than 30,000 people with various needs such as family immigration, citizenship classes, health care outreach and tax services.

“Here at this location we’re offering family immigration services and we have an organizer that is organizing in the colonias for colonia infrastructure work like the lighting and any other needs that the colonias might have,” Chavez said.

For now, the location will be unable to help with tax services until it receives its certification.

According to Chavez, Cameron County residents would have to drive to the closest location in Mercedes for assistance.

“We are very excited to have opened this office because we know that the struggle in Cameron County has been very prominent in terms of Border Patrol presence in the community so we want to make sure that the families feel protected and secure,” Chavez said.

The San Benito location is the fourth to open in the Valley.

Chavez said she hopes the additional location will help to grow the organization and bring in new members.

What does LUPE do?

• Offers citizenship, basic English and GED classes

• Provides immigration legal services

• Provides income tax services

• Helps with health care outreach

• Provides referrals to clinics, doctors and attorneys

• Assists in colonia infrastructure

• Hosts labor rights workshops

What is LUPE?

Founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, LUPE or La Union del Pueblo Entro helps communities by providing resources for residents to empower and strengthen the communities. The strategy of change has evolved and now rests on four pillars:

• Responding to the social and economic needs of low-income people in their struggle to overcome the barriers and challenges they face in their daily lives.

• Investing in the development of the members and community at large. This self-help program is designed to develop and enable the capacity of low-income families.

• Transforming is the element of LUPE that results from the people’s participation in addressing their social and economic needs, developing their human capacity, and advocating for themselves.

• Building a community of conscience that bridges economic and social differences across the entire community.