A native Santa Clara Valley activist is touring California to give meals to farmworkers, immigrants

SAN JOSE – Flor Martinez knows what it’s like to grow up in a family where a trip to the movie theater is as much of a luxury as going to Disneyland. As an undocumented Mexican immigrant who came to America at age 3, she remembers her family relying on the kindness of strangers for help in navigating a new country, food banks to feed them and free community events to keep the kids entertained.

Flor Martinez poses for a portrait at the warehouse space for the non-profit Celebration Nation Foundation in Santa Clara County, Calif. The non-profit Celebration Nation Inc. sets up events for farmworker families that donÕt have much. (Photo by Jordan Hayes / Celebration Nation)

Since the onset of the pandemic, Martinez has worked diligently to bring the community back to her Latino neighbors from Silicon Valley to San Martin and Salinas through her new non-profit Celebration Nation Inc, which sets up events for farmworker families that don’t have much. After a viral video she posted on Instagram gave her thousands of new followers, she used her newfound national influence to help a community that has long been lacking support.

From giving away meals to putting up festivals and even setting up school supply drives for the children of farmworkers and immigrants, here’s a look at how Martinez is taking marginalized communities out of the shadows.

So tell me about this Instagram post, how did it get so big and what was your reaction to it?

It’s really what made us into what we are today. In August 2020, when the fires were happening and there was smoke everywhere and heatwaves, I went to social media to bring attention to it. I was a farm worker when I was 14 and 15, so I was thinking of the people who are working on farms, who don’t have N95 masks let alone any protection from the pesticide dust and hazardous smoke. So I went to social media to express my frustration. It went viral and my followers went from like 20,000 to 100,000 overnight. Then Celebration Nation grew out of that.

What is Celebration Nation?

Basically, I started this non-profit in March 2020 and this was supposed to be a branch of our event company that we had pre-pandemic. Since the pandemic hit, my family and I had to put it on hold because we can’t host events for profit for people anymore. But then we started thinking about new ways to help, and we’ve been throwing non-profit events at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds. We’ve done Halloween events, coffee with Santa, free pumpkin patches, movie nights and other events that we can do to give families a place to go for community.

As an immigrant yourself, what was it like growing up low-income in a big family?

We grew up low-income in San Martin. I come from a family of six, so it was hard to afford to, say like, go to the movie theater. That’s the reality with a lot of people. Our Thanksgiving meals came from food banks and other help. We (kids) had to go to food banks ourselves sometimes, which is why I focus so much on food security. You can’t think when you’re hungry. We never went to Disneyland or Great America like what families hope to do. We didn’t have any of the things that people so often take for granted.

We grew up an undocumented life, and it’s just that: undocumented. You’re kind of living your life in the shadows.

There’s a lot of trust that goes into accepting help from someone when you are undocumented. Why is it important to build trust with the Latino community through food drives, clothes drives and events?

When you host events with a stage and artists and free food and free face painting and arts and crafts and resources from families, you start to build trust in the community and learn what they need from people like us. When I tell them I grew up undocumented, that I was a farmworker, and that I want to help, we have people who put their trust in us.

For an undocumented immigrant, you’d see people who wouldn’t even dare to come out of their houses, they don’t care about these community events and drives because they don’t trust easily. But with us, for example, when we collect personal information – which is dangerous for undocumented immigrants – they trust that we’re using it for good. Building that trust has happened over the past two years and now we’re going to be able to execute more events and bring people back into community.

We’ve spent the last two years largely stuck at home, and for undocumented immigrants, it has been especially hard to find work, keep food on the table and keep hope. Have you seen that hope and community come back?

I do and I think it’s the best thing ever. Let’s say we serve a family. Before you know it they’re volunteering too and bringing their kids. They see that they have a community, they’re out of the house, interacting, being social with other volunteers and learning. We live in an area where slowly but surely the Latino community is moving out. Everyone notices it, your neighborhood changing and everything getting more expensive.

Flor Martinez poses for a portrait at the warehouse space for the non-profit Celebration Nation Foundation in Santa Clara County, Calif. The non-profit Celebration Nation Inc. sets up events for farmworker families that donÕt have much. (Photo by Jordan Hayes / Celebration Nation)

You really have to see for yourself the kind of community we’ve built. People come in shy but next time they’re more social. For a lot of us it’s going to school, go to work, go home, maybe do something else but don’t get in trouble. It’s amazing to see that people see themselves as part of a community because of the work we do.


Age: 27

Title: CEO of Celebration Nation, Inc.

Residence: San Jose

Education: Graduated from Ann Sobrato High School and attended to De Anza College

Family: Sister Victoria, brothers Gonzalo and Martin, dad Jose and mom Martha


  • Picked wine grapes in Northern California when she was 14 years old, and worked two summers cutting grave vines and harvesting.
  • Favorite hobby is dancing
  • Really enjoys Reggaeton and Cumbia.
  • My favorite thing to do is enjoying delicious food with family and spending time with them.
  • Started entrepreneurship career while studying at De Anza.

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