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Tuesday, June 6, 2023
NOTL Farmworkers Hub in the running to win $2,000 in regional charity event
Volunteers at the NOTL Farmworkers Hub Brenda Bromley, left, Julia Buxton-Cox, Rosemary Gray, Vivienne Lipman and Emily Fieguth gather around the couch up in the social space at the hub. The hub is one of three finalists in the Evans Heating & Cooling. (Somer Slobodian)

The NOTL Farmworkers Hub is one of three charities in the running to receive $2,000 from a Niagara Falls business supporting charities across the region.

The organization supporting agricultural workers in Niagara-on-the-Lake is up against two other groups to receive this donation from Evans Heating & Cooling.

“We’re really honoured to have been chosen to be in this top three,” said Julia Buxton-Cox, founder of the Farmworkers Hub.

Buxton-Cox said one of the hub’s volunteers nominated the group. 

The hub, which operates out of Cornerstone Church in Virgil, provides clothing, food and household items to seasonal migrant workers who travel to Niagara for employment in greenhouses, vineyards and orchards. 

If the Farmworkers Hub wins the $2,000 cheque, Buxton-Cox said she plans to use the money to pay the hub’s monthly rent to the church.

“For us, it means two more months that we can stay open to serve the community that we serve of migrant workers,” she said. 

This is part of the business’ annual “Evans Cares” initiative, which started in 2021.

Participants vote online for which organization should receive the donation, with the one receiving the most “likes” getting the top spot.

“It’s just a way for us to kind of give back a little bit to the community,” said Jason Gautier, owner of Evans Heating & Cooling.

“And as well, (to) try to get some well-deserved exposure for some of these organizations,” he added.

Voting ends this year on May 31. Second and third-place winners will get $750 and $500, respectively. 

The hub, No One Goes Hungry Niagara and Youth Unlimited St. Catharines are the three nominees racing to the finish line. 

“The three charities are all very deserving,” Buxton-Cox said.

Alongside providing seasonal workers with essential items, the Farmworkers Hub also provides a social space for them to use on Sundays where they can relax, eat, or play pool, foosball or ping pong.

Buxton-Cox said they’re averaging 120 to 150 workers every week.

Not only is Buxton-Cox grateful to be nominated, but she also said she’s grateful for the awareness this will create around migrant workers’ needs. 

If people “believe in us and what we do, we would ask them to vote for us,” she said. 

To vote, go to evansheatingandcooling.ca/cares, scroll down and click the “like” button under the charities logo. Users can only vote once.

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