Blueberry Rakers' Center to Open in Washington County Bookmark and Share

July 20, 2017

Will be at Narraguagus High School in Harrington.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2017 Media contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 207-621-5009

AUGUSTA—With the blueberry harvest set to begin the first week in August, Maine Department of Labor staff are again partnering with other governmental and community service organizations to host the Rakers' Center in Washington County. The official opening is July 30 and the hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with hours of operation varying over the following week and a half. The center will close on August 11, 2017.

For the third year in a row, the Rakers' Center will be located at Narraguagus High School, 1611 Main Street in Harrington. For more information, workers are encouraged to call Jorge Acero, migrant farm worker monitor advocate, at 207-623-7928.

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.

Rakers’ Center Schedule

  • July 30 to Aug. 1: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Aug. 2: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Aug. 3: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. (Fresh food available in the evening)
  • Aug. 4: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Aug. 7: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. (Fresh food from Gleaning Project)
  • Aug. 8 to 11: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Rakers' Center opens annually during the peak of the blueberry picking season and serves more than 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.

In addition, the Blueberry Harvest School (BHS) will open on July 31, 2017. The BHS is where raker families may enroll their school-age children during the harvest. The program responds to the unique needs of each student through project-based learning and helps prevent summer learning loss and school disruptions among students.

This year the Blueberry Harvest School will be located at Harrington Elementary School and will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The BHS program serves children ages 3 to 13.

The Department of Labor provides a resource guide for migrant workers on the Maine Monitor Advocate page on the department's website, http://www.maine.gov/labor/laborlaws/mainemonitor_advocate.html .

For more information about migrant workers issues, contact the Maine Department of Labor at 207-623-7900 or visit the Maine Monitor Advocate webpage.

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