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'Longsleeve Drive' gathers donated clothing for farmworkers

Farmworkers spend long hours outside in extreme weather conditions, with minimal breaks.

Idaho's farmworkers are the ones that help grow and harvest crops that feed the entire world, but with the job comes a lot of risks. According to the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, being a farmworker is the third most dangerous job in the U.S.

National Farmworker Awareness Week aims to help educate the community on some of the challenges these workers face every day. 

The Community Council of Idaho is teaming up with multiple local organizations to help supply local farmworkers with long sleeve shirts.

“We want to help protect them as much as possible because they grow our food," Community Council of Idaho’s Intake and Assessment Clerk Esmeralda Garcia said.

Long sleeves are necessary because farmworkers spend long hours outside in extreme weather conditions, with minimal breaks.

"Farmworkers are out in the sun, that's mainly the main reason, you know you want to protect yourself from the sun," Boise State University’s MEPA President Alejandra Hernandez said. "Although there is sunscreen most of the time you're just in the sun for long hours.”

Farmworkers are also exposed to the chemicals used on crops which can be dangerous.

"All the fields that are the farmworkers are working at, they have to fumigate them," said Garcia. "There are pesticides and they can cause severe illnesses like skin diseases, skin rashes because they are breathing things in, if they are not wearing a mask." 

The Community Council of Idaho is launching a new program to provide resources, such as education and training, for agricultural employers and employees in the Gem State.

"To inform them of all the benefits of being preventative and what dangers it can cause to their families for exposing them to pesticides and things like that,” said Garcia.

The Community Council of Idaho says they have collected 40 long-sleeved shirts so far and their goal is to raise over 150. All of them will be given to local farmworkers to help them continue to do essential work that benefits us all.

"It would be best if we could get any light colors, thin fabrics, something that's best for them. But we will accept anything to best provide for them,” said Garcia.

Any donations can be dropped off at the Community Council of Idaho's site at 317 Happy Day Boulevard, Suite 180, in Caldwell.

Posted by Community Council of Idaho, Inc. on Thursday, March 31, 2022

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