On May 4, CommUnity South Jersey, an organization dedicated to uniting communities through harnessing the power of volunteers and donations, partnered with the Migrant Worker Outreach & Haitian Migrant Worker Outreach for the third time to create care packages for migrant workers on Comcast Care Day. The event enlisted more than 75 volunteers, including Congressman Andy Kim, to create over 500 care packages.
The nonprofit’s goal is to recognize migrant workers who are often overlooked. The event is held every year as 6,000 migrant workers from Central America travel up to New Jersey blueberry farms. To show their appreciation, Shazia Riaz, director of communications for CommUnity, sought to get involved with this event.
“These people are very hard-working,” said Riaz. “They work from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. They come up by bus, and these buses are usually packed. Sometimes when they get off, the workers don’t even have proper clothing or self-care items. So to show our appreciation and to acknowledge their hard work, we create these care packages for them.”
According to Riaz, the idea of getting involved with the event stemmed from meeting a woman in her book club. After the woman had mentioned that there was going to be a clothes drive for migrant workers, it sparked Riaz’ interest.
“It was surprising that there are migrant workers in South Jersey,” said Riaz. “It piqued my curiosity, and I went to meet the founder of the organization. I wanted to see how I could get involved, and she had mentioned that they do these care packages.”
The care packages that Riaz and her organization create consist of self-care items and toiletries. The Migrant Worker Outreach & Haitian Migrant Worker Outreach have a relationship with growers, and the care packages are given to them for the growers to disperse among the workers. Each care package also has written messages in English, Creole and Spanish to once again show that they are appreciated.
While the Comcast Care Day was a big event for the CommUnity and Migrant Worker Outreach & Haitian Migrant Worker Outreach organizations, it is not the only event that both organizations work together on or do in general. CommUnity also holds an event at the Providence House for Mother’s Day in honor of the survivors of domestic violence. In this event, CommUnity gives makeovers to these women, among many other things. The organization also participates in a clothing drive.
“Our mission is to unite diverse communities,” said Riaz. “We want to bring people together that are cross-generational through community service projects. It’s great to see elderly people working together with teenagers and children. It creates a great opportunity for conversation and it really brings people together.”
For people looking to get involved with the community service efforts that CommUnity provides, volunteers can go the the CommUnity website at CommUnitySJP.org or the organization’s Facebook page. The organization has multiple events coming up in the next few weeks, such as CommUnity Meals, Infant Care Packages & Hygiene Kits and CommUnity Meals & Care Packages.