Blueberry Rakers’ Center Opens in Washington County Bookmark and Share

August 8, 2012

Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009

Hotline for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Available

Augusta—With the blueberry harvest underway, Maine Department of Labor staff are again partnering with other governmental and community service organizations to host the Rakers’ Center in Washington County.

The facility provides migrant farm workers and their families with access to a variety of resources including legal and employment advice, access to medical care, information on educational resources for children of migrant workers and guidance in applying for other services. A food pantry is also located on site.

The Rakers’ Center opens annually during the peak of the blueberry picking season to serve the 1,000 migrant and seasonal farm workers who are employed in the blueberry harvest. It has been recognized nationwide as a model program because of the centralized services offered.

This year the Rakers’ Center is located on the Epping Road in Columbia, next to Columbia Town Hall. For more information, workers are encouraged to call the Rakers’ Center at 483-6587. Both English- and Spanish-speaking individuals may call the Hotline for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers, 1-888-307-9800, operated by the Maine Department of Labor. The hotline is answered by bilingual staff.

Migrant workers can contact the hotline to find out about farm work or nonagricultural employment. Workers who do not speak English can request assistance obtaining appointments with health care providers and other agencies.

For more information about migrant workers issues, contact the Maine Department of Labor at 623-7900 or visit the Maine Monitor Advocate page on the department’s website at .