A Small Act of Kindness Can Save A Farmworker’s Life

By: Melanie Forti, Director of Health & Safety Programs

Our lives are so busy now days that we forget to sit back, think, and be grateful for those hard working hands that harvest our food. Unfortunately, agricultural workers are one of the most forgotten and unacknowledged workers in the United States.  Every day over 2.5 million farmworkers harvests our nation food, but in order to do so they face many challenges – from health-related issues, poor living conditions,  and sexual abuse to wage theft, and limited access to health & human services.

Farmworkers put their health at risk each day by being exposed to toxic chemicals and working in oppressive weather conditions. Due to the vigorous physical labor, pesticide exposure, and dangerous equipment, agricultural workers rank among the three most hazardous jobs in the U.S. In addition, farmworkers are at great risk of respiratory and dermatological illnesses, dehydration, heat-related illnesses, accidents with dire physical impact, as well as chronic muscular-skeletal pain.

Thanks to their hard work, we are able to have food on our tables, when sometimes they cannot afford to. During the National Farmworker Awareness Week, we can all do a small act of kindness by donating a long-sleeve shirt that will help agricultural workers mitigate exposure to pesticides and reduce the risk of suffering from a heat-related illness.

This year, AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs is holding a National Long-Sleeve Shirt Drive with over fifty drop-off locations nationwide from March 26 – April 2nd. To learn more about this event and where to drop your spare shirt please visit: http://afop.org/health-safety/nfaw/ or contact AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs Director, Melanie Forti at forti@afop.org.

The donated long-sleeve shirts will be distributed among the farmworker community during pesticide safety trainings, heat stress prevention trainings, health fairs, clinics, and in non-profit organizations.

Once National Farmworker Awareness Week has ended, let’s not forget those that harvest our nation’s food. Happy #NFAW2016 #GotFoodThankAFarmworker