Taking care of each otherNovember 29, 2022
Farmworker Appreciation Day
On a bright morning at the end of July, a line of cars looped around the parking lot at Grant Middle School. One by one they drove past a stretch of colorful tents and tables, greeted by smiles and a mix of Spanish and English. Families in each car received groceries, back-to-school supplies, information on local services, and more as part of Farmworker Appreciation Day.
Organized by the Sparta Area Migrant Resource Council, the day is an annual opportunity to recognize those who play a critical role in our local economy and community. Each year in Michigan, the food and agriculture industry brings in more than $100 billion and includes 94,000 migrant farmworkers and family members.
“I wish more people realized how important these workers are to farmers and to you and I,” said event organizer Mary Rangel, who also serves on the Community Foundation board. “We need them, and it’s important they know how much we appreciate them.”
This year, more than 150 families participated in the event, which is funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation. It also brings together a network of partner agencies and enthusiastic volunteers. “Everybody is pitching in and helping,” said Mary. “The community is coming together, whether they’re on the receiving end or the giving end.”
Mary has led Farmworker Appreciation Day for 18 years and is still excited about the opportunity to share resources, help kids feel more ready for school, and show support for these local families.
“I’ve always wanted to leave a person, a community better than when I found it,” said Mary. “This is the best thing I can do for my community. We are taking care of each other.”