Migrant Farmworkers Project
Each year over 4,000 migrant farmworkers become our neighbours in the Niagara Region for five to eight months of the year. Of these, about half are Spanish speakers from Mexico and parts of Central America. The seasonal workers leave their families and communities to work for the wineries, farms and greenhouses supplying our Ontario-grown produce, flowers and wines.
The Migrant Farmworkers Project facilitates the seasonal farmworkers, farmers, community partners, and volunteers working together in a partnership that enhances the workers’ lives away from their homes. The Project provides access to needed services to address their holistic needs; physical, mental and spiritual. The Project builds welcoming relationships and spaces with seasonal workers, and supports those engaged with the workers.
Specifically, the Project engages the migrant farmworkers by operating several programs including the provision of bikes and reflective vests for farmworkers; health clinics with medical staff and translators; a clothing bank and welcome kits; a community meal most Sunday evenings between February to September; and spiritual, liturgical and pastoral care in Spanish.
The programs and services for the migrant farmworkers, provided through the generosity of volunteers, businesses, organizations, and other churches and charities, take place at the following three churches on a rotating basis:
- St. John’s Anglican Church, Jordan
- Christ Church, (McNab) Niagara-on-the-Lake
- St. Alban’s Anglican Church, Beamsville
Through the leadership of the Reverend Antonio Illas and a core group of volunteers, the Migrant Farmworkers Project engages anywhere from 35-100 Migrant Farmworkers each week.