2020 National Farmworker Awareness Week
Non-Profit Collecting Long-Sleeve Shirts to Raise Awareness for Farmworkers
By: Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs
Each year, an estimated 1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to U.S. farms, forests, lawns and golf courses out of the 5.6 billion pounds worldwide. Farmworkers are exposed more than anyone else to the health hazards of these pesticides. Among the approximate 2 million U.S. agricultural workers, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that doctors diagnose between 10,000-20,000 pesticide poisonings annually. "A long-sleeved shirt can help a farmworker reduce exposure to pesticides and decrease the chances of suffering from a heat-related illness," states Melanie Forti, Health & Safety Programs Director for the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP).
From March 23-April 3rd during National Farmworker Awareness Week, AFOP's Health & Safety Programs is sponsoring its annual National Long-Sleeve Shirt Drive. This year they are aiming to collect 20,000 shirts for the year 2020, surpassing the 17,857 long-sleeve shirts collected in 2019. After the shirts are collected, they will be distributed among the farmworker community with pesticide safety and heat stress prevention messages through AFOP Health & Safety's network of 242 trainers.
There is always a need and plenty of ways to get involved. As a nation, everyone can come together and help provide a safer and healthier life to our nation's farmworkers. Efforts don't have to end with this week of observance, as people can connect with local farmworker organizations and find other ways to get involved. "From my experience many people do not realize what farmworkers actually do," commented Jody Stutzman from Proteus, Inc., Iowa. "Giving the farmworkers the shirts is great and can be life-saving. I think the most rewarding part comes from collecting the shirts and talking to people about who migrant farmworkers are and how they contribute to our country, state, and local economy."
Since 2014, AFOP has collected and distributed 65,003 long-sleeve shirts throughout the U.S. This year everyone will have the opportunity to donate their new or slightly used long-sleeve shirts in over 135 locations nationwide, including Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. To find the nearest drop-off location please visit: http://afop.org/
AFOP Health & Safety 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of AFOP Health & Safety Programs