Migrant workers greeted by winter weather get help from Centre
Thousands of migrant workers will arrive in the Windsor-Essex region this month. Some do not come prepared for the cold weather.
That's where Unity Hopeful, a support centre for migrant workers in Leamington, steps in.
"They come here with just a t-shirt and jeans," said Joan Golding, who started Unity Hopeful in 2011. "They don't have any money. They come in and they get money to buy groceries to keep them until they start work and get paid."
Unity Hopeful takes in donations of warm clothing and gives them to migrant workers like Kimar Service who arrived from Jamaica. This was his first time in Canada.
"It's my first time actually feeling the snow. It was actually falling on me. It was awesome," said Service, who admitted it was "very cold" and that he didn't know what to expect. He brought a sweater and long johns with him and not much else.
Golding said Service was lucky to pick up a winter jacket - his first ever. She said there were only 40 at the centre on Thursday.
"This year especially the winter is extremely bitter and we do need a lot more jackets," said Golding. "And, we're really targeting the new workers who just come here and are completely lost. They're coming from a hot country ... it's a shock to their system."
Lydia Chan, an outreach coordinator with the African and Caribbean communities in Windsor, does what she can to keep the shelves at Unity Hopeful stocked with winter clothing. She said winter jacket donations are down this year and the demand is high.
"It's not even enough for one farm let alone all the farms we're trying to get coats to," Chan said of what she's collected so far.
Donations of new or used winter clothing can be dropped off at 257 Erie St. South in Leamington.