AFOP's SAFE AmeriCorps Collecting Clothes for Our Country's Farmworkers

Members Are Holding a Long-Sleeved Shirts and Pants Drive in Honor of AmeriCorps Week

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This clothing is their first line of defense against pesticide exposure that can lead to cancer, birth defects, blindness, serious damage to vital organs and death.

Salisbury, MD (Vocus) May 13, 2010

This week the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs ' (AFOP) SAFE AmeriCorps Program is celebrating the fourth annual AmeriCorps Week. Members are leading activities across the country to encourage others to make a commitment to serve and raise awareness concerning community needs. Ben Brokaw, a SAFE AmeriCorps member located in Salisbury, Maryland, is holding a "Long-Sleeved Shirt Drive" beginning this Friday May 14th through Monday, May 24th.

"Every year thousands of seasonal and migrant agricultural workers go into pesticide treated fields without long-sleeved shirts and long pants,” said SAFE AmeriCorps member Ben Brokaw. "This clothing is their first line of defense against pesticide exposure that can lead to cancer, birth defects, blindness, serious damage to vital organs and death.”

Ben is asking community members to bring their gently used long-sleeved shirts and pants to Telamon Corporation located at 917 Mount Hermon Road in Salisbury, which will then distribute the clothing to farmworkers. They are particularly in need of men's clothing sized small and medium. Items can also be dropped off at The Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, Hebron Savings Bank, or Wicomico Public Library.

"AmeriCorps week is a great opportunity for our SAFE AmeriCorps members to showcase national service, educate, and motivate members in their communities,” said Levy Schroeder, Program Director of AFOP's Health and Safety program. "Our SAFE AmeriCorps members provide a vital service that protects the farmworkers who harvest our country's food.”

SAFE, which stands for Serving America's Farmworkers Everywhere, is an AmeriCorps National Direct project currently deploying 28 volunteers from Maine to California. The members provide pesticide safety education to seasonal and migrant farmworkers. 70% of the farmworkers they train have worked many years in the fields without ever receiving training on pesticide exposure and the risks associated with it. Members also provide a variety of other farmworker health and safety training, including heat stress prevention, take-home pesticide exposure prevention, healthy homes training, and maternal health awareness.

For more information about the clothing drive please contact Benjamin Brokaw at (410) 546-4604 ext 119.

The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is the national federation of nonprofit and public agencies that provide training and employment services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers. For additional comment or interview, please contact Ayrianne Parks at (202) 828-6006 x140 or Parks(at)AFOP(dot)org.

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