Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) September 12, 2012
On Tuesday, Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs’ SAFE AmeriCorps members observed the anniversary of September 11th by holding community service events all around the country. SAFE AmeriCorps members, who work in rural communities to train farmworkers on pesticide safety and heat stress prevention, took part in 10 events that ranged from organizing toiletry and clothing drives for farmworkers, to volunteering at a soup kitchen in a rural community.
“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our SAFE AmeriCorps members. To commemorate this day, they organized a variety of community service events that benefit the rural communities that they work in,” said Levy Schroeder, Director of Health & Safety Programs at AFOP. “From blood drives, to health trainings for farmworkers, our SAFE AmeriCorps members participated in this annual service day in full force.”
Originally called Patriot Day, September 11th was changed to National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009. On this day Americans, and people around the world, are encouraged to support charitable causes, perform good deeds, or engage in other service activities. AmeriCorps commemorates this date each year by seeking to “inspire everyone to carry forward every day in their lives, through their actions toward others, the remarkable spirit of unity, understanding, and service that brought America and the world together in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.”
AFOP SAFE AmeriCorps member, Gabriela Gonzalez, who is placed with North Carolina Farm Worker Health Program, assisted Dr. Iliana Neumann from the University of North Carolina at a mobile health clinic for farmworkers in the Chapel Hill area. At the event, farmworkers had their blood pressure taken and blood sugar levels measured. Attendees were also invited to take part in activities, including singing, eating, and playing soccer. Gonzalez organized a clothing drive so participating farmworkers could pick up a few items of clothes as well.
“They were very thankful for the time we spent together, so that they could forget about work for at least an evening,” said Gonzalez. “We should have events like this more often. We don’t always have to bring food or clothes for them, the important thing is simply to spend time together and share important, life-saving health information.”
The SAFE AmeriCorps members not only volunteered to benefit the farmworker community, but also the rural community at large. On the other side of the country, at HELP-New Mexico, Ruth Piña worked with a local organization called Helping Hand. There, she served food to over 400 senior citizens.
Crop production is the most dangerous occupation in America with 32.6 fatalities per 100,000 workers. This makes it almost three times as dangerous as construction with 11.8 fatalities per 100,000 workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since the beginning of the program in 1995, AFOP’s SAFE AmeriCorps members have reached over 500,000 farmworkers nationally.
At the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), a national federation of non-profit and public agencies that provide job training and services for America’s farmworkers, the Health & Safety Programs division develops trainings and coordinates health promotion activities to protect farmworkers from pesticide poisoning, heat-related illness, and other life-threatening occupational hazards. Our national network of trainers reaches thousands of farmworkers each year in 26 states and Puerto Rico. For additional comment or interview from an AFOP expert, please contact Ayrianne Parks at (202) 828-6006 x140 or Parks(at)AFOP(dot)org.