Words of Appreciation: Migrant worker support in Windsor-Essex

Topics: Ontario, Essex, Windsor, Volunteer, Emergency Response
Kirsten Long, Communications Coordinator | October 20, 2020

Each year, thousands of temporary foreign workers are hired to assist during the planting and harvesting season in Canada.  In Ontario, the Windsor-Essex region is home to one of the largest agricultural farms and greenhouse growing areas in the country. 
 
This year the Windsor-Essex agricultural sector was significantly impacted by  COVID-19 and resulted in several outbreaks.  To help control the spread of the virus, workers were required to isolate at local hotel sites.
 
The Canadian Red Cross worked in support of federal, provincial and local public health officials by operating isolation sites. Red Cross personnel provided humanitarian assistance to migrant workers during their isolation. Experienced Red Cross staff and volunteers provided various personal services to individuals. One of those volunteers was Fabiano Oliviera de Moura who shares his experience providing support to workers:
 

I have always wanted to volunteer with the Red Cross but I was particularly interested in the opportunity to volunteer in Windsor-Essex as it would allow me to apply my international experience as an environmental manager capable of speaking three languages; Spanish, English and Portuguese.
 
I was assigned as a Responder on the Emergency Response Team (ERT), helping to provide Spanish translation assistance. My daily activities during this operation included connecting individuals with Red Cross and Public health teams and translating any needs or concerns they had. I also helped to provide personal items, psychosocial support and deliver meals. Because I was constantly speaking with the workers each day, they trusted me with their concerns and would often express their feelings of gratitude to me.  The workers words were always full of passion, which uplifted my energy and spirit each day.
 
The agri-farm workers wanted to thank the Red Cross staff and volunteers for providing the best care possible; for sharing not only positive words but also having positive attitudes, delivering smiles, reaching out as a sign of solidarity and for being gentle when they needed someone to talk with them. They are thankful for the time given to them and for thinking of their values, as well as respecting their opinions. They truly appreciated the assistance provided to them by Red Cross, particularly the kind words which warmed their hearts. Unfortunately, these words are not enough to express the emotions they shared, which gave me feelings of colour and magic. You hold their eternal gratitude and thanks.
 
For me, becoming a Canadian Red Cross volunteer is a dream that came true. I always believe that as volunteers, we can provide help to vulnerable people and can make the world a better place to live.