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The Delaware Farm Bureau, DEFB, is gearing up for National Farmworker Awareness Week by teaming up with the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, AFOP, to collect long sleeve shirts for farmworkers.

The annual awareness week starts Sunday, March 24 this year. According to Telamon Program Manager Cheryl Redd, it is “. . .a week of action for communities and individuals to bring attention to farmworkers and honor them for the contributions they make to our daily lives.”

Redd further explained that 85% of fresh fruits and vegetables available worldwide are handpicked and an estimated 2.5-3 million individuals work in farm fields in the United States alone.

Long hours and hard, physical work puts all of those individuals at risk for health and safety issues, partly due to exposure to heat and other weather-related issues and pesticides when they touch the skin.

“A gently used long-sleeve shirt that is light colored and natural fabric can help prevent exposure to pesticide residues and prevent suffering a heat-related illness,” Redd said.

The National Long Sleeve Shirt Drive helps eliminate some of these issues by providing farmworkers with shirts across the country. Light-colored long sleeve shirts, and even some short sleeve shirts, collected through the drive will be distributed among the local farmworker community through AFOP’s certified Worker Protection Standard, WPS, training team during the spring planting season, according to Redd.

“This drive is incredibly important because it helps protect the farm workers and I think it’s important that we invest in the people who are feeding our country,” Redd said. “Every year, we conduct this drive and the training during which we distribute the shirts. Last year, we distributed 300 shirts in Maryland and Delaware; we anticipate being able to distribute at least 200 in the state of Delaware this year and we always see more people than we have shirts to provide so there’s always a need.”

Supporting the effort couldn’t be easier, she added.

“All you have to do is look through your closets and see what you no longer need. They don’t have to be new shirts,” she said.

Long sleeve shirts can then be donated locally at the Delaware Farm Bureau’s state office in Camden, located at 3457 S. DuPont Hwy. between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“Farming is not without risk. In fact, we talk about risks and safety issues at the Delaware Farm Bureau a lot because these issues are so prevalent in our work. In fact, a recent study found that farming is even more dangerous than previously thought. We need to do everything we can to keep ourselves, our farmers and our farmworkers safe while we feed the world. We’re happy to help the AFOP in their shirt drive endeavor,” DEFB Executive Director Don Clifton said.

For more information on the Delaware Farm Bureau, visit For more information on the AFOP’s National Long Sleeve Shirt Drive or Farmworkers Awareness Week, visit

Post Author: Mikayla Paul

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