RCMA is opening its Rollason Center headquarters, 402 W. Main St. in Immokalee, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays from March 14 through May 30 to help members of the community complete the 2020 Census.
Census forms will arrive in mailboxes in mid-March and responses can be provided online, by phone in 12 different languages, or by mail. Bilingual (English and Spanish) RCMA employees will be available to answer questions about the Census. Everyone, regardless of age or citizenship status, should be counted.
“We are encouraging our families and neighbors to complete the Census and understand it is safe to do so,” said Isabel Garcia, executive director of RCMA, which is headquartered in Immokalee but operates in 21 counties. “Funding for many government programs such as Head Start, which gives grants for us to provide early childhood education to more tha1n 6,000 children annually, is determined based on Census data. Food stamps, which many of our families depend on, are also based on Census counts.”
RCMA operates 66 child development centers and 2 charter schools around the state. Each location has flyers in English and Spanish explaining why the Census takes place and how to participate, as well as a designated area to use a phone or computer to complete the Census.
“A key message we want people to understand is that it is illegal for the Census Bureau to release the information you provide to any other government agency,” Garcia says. “Hispanic and Latino communities are typically undercounted in the Census. We want to change that this year.”