Migrant food providers thanked through gratitude dinners
As the end of the year draws near, organizations in Ontario held dinners to show support and gratitude to the temporary foreign workers who play a vital role during the harvest season.
As the migrant workers prepared to head home after a long season, community partners supporting them in Burford, Whitby, Simcoe, Niagara, and Bradford demonstrated their appreciation by gathering and breaking bread together.
The workers are a critical part of keeping people across Canada and around the world fed. Some have been part of Canada’s food system for decades. Sharing food felt like an appropriate means of thanking workers for all they had done, and there was a sense of joy and appreciation at all the meals.
These dinners were part of KAIROS’ Empowering Temporary Foreign Workers During COVID-19 (ETFW) project and were hosted by KAIROS’ partners: Unknown Neighbours, Center for Migrant Workers Solidarity, Durham Region Migrant Worker Solidarity Program & ADCR, and Niagara Community Partners.
The ETFW project, funded by the Government of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program, supports workers by providing information about workplace COVID-19 safety and access to partners’ support services and resources that include welcome/wellness bags. ETFW project community partners also collaborate with local agencies to provide a broad network of supports for workers.
One powerful moment came during a meal organized by Center for Migrant Workers Solidarity. As a worker, farmer and representative from the Center for Migrant Workers Solidarity were breaking bread, the worker learned about the birth of his second child. Both mother and child were healthy and happy back home. The three men were each grateful to one another for their efforts and, in that quiet hall, were able to share a powerful moment of celebration and joy.
Our gratitude to migrant workers for their critical role in maintaining Canadian food security is unending.