The Farmworker Hub is having a prolific second year.
After an immense turnout of donations from Niagara-on-the-Lakers, the hub is asking people to hold off on contributions for the next two weeks, founder Julia Buxton-Cox said.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from residents, volunteers, community organizations like the Rotary and local farmers,” she told the Lake Report on Monday.
The hub needs time to organize the donations it has received and get them out into the seasonal workers community, she said.
The Farmworker Hub was only started last year, as a reaction to the difficulties COVID-19 had imposed on seasonal workers’ lives.
“We started last year due to COVID, during lockdown, when charity shops were closed,” Buxton-Cox said.
After opening it, she noticed the service was essential.
“We quickly saw there was a growing need and so we decided to look for a more suitable place to welcome the community and workers.”
Gary Hatton, retired naval captain with the Royal Canadian Navy and Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club member, visited the hub on Sunday with a $6,500 cheque on behalf of the club’s community service committee.
“The role of a community service committee is to help develop and implement educational, humanitarian and vocational service projects that help the local community thrive,” Hatton said in an email explaining the group’s goals.
“Community service defines Rotary’s character, is the basis for its appeal and visibility in the community and is the reason Rotary continues to grow,” he said.
“The top community service priorities for clubs are determined by examining the assets and needs in the local community and developing a response. This ensures that Rotary will not function in isolation, but be an active part of the community with projects that are relevant and effective.”
Originally, the hub was operating out of a portable at Cornerstone Community Church in Virgil. Now the hub operates directly inside the church.
Buxton-Cox said she is blown away at how much community support the project has garned after only one year of operating.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have the community embrace our mission of helping seasonal agricultural farmworkers,” she said.