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May. 24, 2022 | Tuesday
Local News
Community helps farm worker send soccer balls to Jamaican schools
Ken Eden, of Bikes for Farmworkers, Jamaican farm worker Prophet Elisha Steele, and Dave Pritchard and Carol Miller, Caribbean Workers Outreach Project board members, with the 23 soccer balls that will be sent to Jamaican schools. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

Prophet Elisha Steele has kicked community support into action and is sending 23 soccer balls to schools back home to Jamaica.

The soccer balls were purchased with excess money raised for roll down cricket matting for the migrant workers’ cricket team to play and practise on.

Fundraising for the mat was initiated by Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen owner Aziz Anjum, who offered to donate $500 of the almost $2,000 needed to purchase the mat, if the Caribbean Workers Outreach Project and the players could raise the rest.

The organization raised $2,600 in total, with support from Bikes for Farmworkers, Jamaica National Money Services, the Hawley family, and farm workers and volunteer supporters who attend Sunday night services at Grace United Church.

The 23 soccer balls were presented to Steele on Monday afternoon at Gaio Farm on Concession 1 where he has been working seasonally for more than 20 years. He said he has been sending soccer balls back to Jamaica for about as long as he has been coming to NOTL to work.

He is passionate about helping the kids back home, he said, and has always been eager to support them any way he can.

“This endeavour is remarkable to me because it demonstrates how two organizations and the workers themselves co-operate to not only benefit themselves but to share it with kids in Jamaica,” said Nancy King, a longtime member of the Caribbean Workers Outreach Project.

Steele said he will cover the cost of sending the balls to Jamaica. He will be returning home before the end of the month and said he’s looking forward to seeing friends and family again for a few months before likely coming back for another season.