The Farmworker Hub is asking for donations of needed winter clothing | Popgen Tech


Do you have extra winter clothes that you don’t know what to do with? Consider donating items to seasonal farm workers

Do you have extra winter clothes that you don’t know what to do with? Consider donating it to the NOTL Farmworker Hub.

Seasonal farm workers will begin returning in January and the Farmworkers Hub is in dire need of winter clothing for them.

Where the utility room at the Virgil Center is usually teeming with donations, the trash cans are empty and the tables are clean.

“You can imagine with the 3,000 visits we’ve had this year in seven and a half months, the overstock must be full,” said Julia Buxton-Cox, founder of Farmworker Hub.

“And our containers in the sorting room are empty. There is nothing there,” she added.

She founded the organization in 2021 during the COVID pandemic to help seasonal agricultural workers coming to Canada from around the world. The center provides them with basic necessities free of charge.

Equipment is supplied by residents, charities and businesses.

“We give away everything collected for free. So it’s completely free for workers,” Buxton-Cox said.

The most immediate essentials are work pants (sizes 32-36), hoodies, winter jackets and long-sleeved button-down shirts.

As of this week, the center only has nine winter jackets and 12 hoodies — not enough given the hundreds of workers they will see in the new year.

“A lot of them don’t have the opportunity to buy a winter coat back home because it’s so hot where they come from,” Buxton-Cox said.

She also noted that, especially during the winter months, workers always layer up to try to stay warm – especially during the ice season.

Long-sleeved and button-down shirts not only add an extra layer of warmth, but in the warmer months, they protect workers’ skin from peach fuzz, which can cause irritation.

Other items workers need include backpacks, food, towels, sheets and sneakers. However, the priority is four main winter things.

Workers start arriving in January, with the main influx coming in March and April to work in the vineyards and orchards.

Given the number of workers they helped last year, the center hopes to recruit more volunteers in the new year to help with sorting, driving, interacting with workers and writing grant applications.

“My favorite thing about the hub is the relationships we all develop,” said Brittney Sliasas, the agency’s volunteer coordinator.

The center is located at Cornerstone Community Church at 1570 Niagara Stone Rd.

Although it is closed to the public until mid-March, staff are still accepting donations and continue to work hard behind the scenes. In the off-season, they deliver incoming applications directly to agricultural workers.

Anyone interested in donating can contact Buxton-Cox at 905-483-9717 and arrange to be picked up or dropped off at her home in the Chautauqua area. There is also a donation box near the front door of the hub.

“Please don’t think that one pair of jeans doesn’t matter. It is, she said.

“Every coat, even if you have one pair of jeans or one coat. All this is of great importance in the life of a worker who comes here for eight to ten months a year,” she added.

Somer Slobadian is a reporter for The Lake Report, a local journalism initiative. The local journalism initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.


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