A Niagara-on-the-Lake health fair for migrant farmworkers is returning to Niagara-on-the-Lake at the end of the month and is in need of donations.
The fair is returning in person for the first time in three years and an estimated 300 workers are expected to be there.
It’s hosted by the Niagara Migrant Workers Interest Group in collaboration with Positive Living Niagara and will be held at the NOTL Community Centre on June 25.
“This is more of bringing them together and letting them know what programs are there,” said Sara Escarraga, the interest group’s chair.
The fair will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be food, prizes and hopefully welcome bags at the fair, she said.
She hopes to offer welcome bags to the workers if she’s able to get enough donations from the community to fill the bags.
The group is asking for items like reusable bags, sunglasses, soccer balls, sunblock, lip balm, first aid supplies and work gloves.
Basically, she said, “anything that can make their lives easier out in the fields, especially now it’s getting hotter.”
The group is also asking for grocery store gift cards that can be used to buy drinks for the fair since they will be supplying food and drinks to the workers.
Thousands of seasonal workers come to Niagara each year, many of them to Niagara-on-the-Lake, through multiple temporary foreign workers streams — like the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.
Workers in the seasonal program arrive from Mexico or from Caribbean countries like Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis and St. Lucia and work here for up to eight months.
Some workers are hired through other streams to work on longer contracts. These workers come from all over the world.
She said some farmworkers are socially isolated, living out in rural areas, and the fair is a great way to meet and network with workers from other farms.
“It helps them come together, meet people from other farms, get out of work for a bit and have a social event,” she said. “It builds community.”
Free transportation is provided to workers that live in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but everyone across the region is welcome if they can get a ride in.
Another health fair was also held in Fenwick on June 4 for the workers out in that area.
The NOTL health fair will welcome different community partners to educate workers, like Quest Health and Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc.
“All of the agencies and organizations in Niagara that have something to do with overall health are going to be there,” she said.
Many of them provide services in English and Spanish, too.
Canadian Tire and CAA also partnered together to donate bikes, which they will raffle off at the fair.
Workers who need a ride can fill out the form at Nmwig.ca/site/worker-registration.
Anyone wanting to donate can drop off items at Positive Living Niagara at 120 Queenston St. in St. Catharines or email email@example.com for more information.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the fair can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NOTL Community Centre is located at 14 Anderson Lane.