Advocate Kit Andres hosts mutual aid event to welcome seasonal staff
For farmworker advocate Kit Andres, birthday #37 was the perfect opportunity to help out the seasonal workers now arriving in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Andres stood outside Applewood Hollow Bed & Breakfast on Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. to collect contributions from friends and strangers alike, all going toward welcome kits put together by Niagara Workers Welcome to support seasonal farmworkers.
“Today is a mutual aid community event and the reason we use the word mutual aid instead of donations is because this is not a charity thing. This is a neighbours helping neighbours thing,” said Andres.
“Our migrant farmworker neighbours sacrifice so much every year to come up here. Niagara as we know it would not exist without them and the work that they do.”
“This is part of us returning their generosity and their sacrifice.”
Many people stopped by to drop off things like toiletries and non-perishables, pain relievers being one of the most popular items for the workers after a long day in the fields.
“We’re gathering stuff to get them started when they just arrive,” Andres said.
The drop-in event was a huge success, not only for collections but for spreading the word about getting involved, Andres said.
“A lot of the people who have been coming today have been wanting to get involved but didn’t know where to plug in.”
Since Andres was turning 37, the first 37 visitors received a poster and a bag of seeds.
Andres said the number of people helping out couldn’t be quantified, because there is so much generosity in the community that goes unnoticed.
“There are so many people who are just supporting their neighbours, relationship-building, which is totally transformative.”
Drop-off of items for the welcome kits will be accepted until the end of January at both Applewood Hollow and at Sweets & Swirls Cafe in the NOTL Community Centre.