National Farmworker Awareness Week 2018 - A Nationwide Success

WASHINGTON - April 3, 2018 - PRLog -- During National Farmworker Awareness Week AFOP's Health & Safety team sponsored its annual National Long Sleeve Shirt Drive. This year we would like to thank the hardworking and dedicated individuals who participated in the collection at the 125 drop-off locations in 30 states including Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. During just one week we were able to collect 11,246 long sleeve shirts.

During National Farmworker Awareness Week (March 25-31) communities of generous people not only donated gently used long sleeve shirts but also caps and sunscreen. "We also have a bunch of rain slickers that one group also gives us. Our early migrants love those because our spring field work is oftentimes done in the drizzle. Not to mention we have gotten leather boots, sweatshirts, rubber boots – all from very giving people who wanted to be part of the event.  It's very heartwarming," said Susan Billups Rabick, Regional Director at Proteus, Inc., Nebraska.

Communities nationwide came together in this small act of kindness for farmworkers in their community which will in turn play a huge role in creating healthier lives for farmworkers and their families. Everyday thousands of farmworkers perform backbreaking work in one of the nation's most dangerous industries so that the rest of us can have food on our tables.

"Our College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP program) was funded a year and a half ago. Since not much is known about our program and farmworker issues, our students decided to take this project on. They are very passionate about educating others on their farm working background and having a long sleeve shirt drive seemed like the perfect opportunity," said Alma Young, Director, College Assistance Migrant Program at Valdosta State University.

Why do we collect long-sleeve shirts? Each year, an estimated one billion pounds of pesticides are applied to U.S. farms, forests, lawns and golf courses.  Pesticide applicators, farmers and farmworkers, and communities near farms are often most at risk. Something as simple as a long-sleeve shirt can protect a farmworker's skin from pesticide residues. Shirts will be distributed to farmworkers at heat stress prevention and pesticide safety trainings conducted by AFOP's Health & Safety trainers throughout the year. And, in states where trainings are not provided shirts are donated to local farmworker organizations thus building community ties.

There is always a need and plenty of ways to get involved. To find out more about farmworkers and the health and safety issues faced daily while working in the fields please check out our website at:

AFOP Health & Safety Programs strives to empower the farmworker community through health and safety education, resources and advocacy.  For additional comment or an interview, please contact Melanie Forti, Director of Health & Safety Programs at 202-384-1771 or

The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is a non-profit, national federation of 52 non-profit and public agencies that provide training and employment services to migrant and seasonal farm workers. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all farmworkers and their families through advocacy, education, and training AFOP's mission is to improve the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by providing advocacy for the member organizations that serve them. That means securing the same rights and benefits for farmworkers that the rest of the American people enjoy. For additional comment or an interview with an AFOP expert, please contact Melanie Forti at (202) 384-1771 or

Melanie Forti, Health & Safety Programs Director
(202) 384-1771

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