August 11, 2015

Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina holds listening session with migrant farm workers

On July 28, representatives from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, including five board members, visited local South Carolina farms to meet migrant and seasonal workers and witness their conditions. The foundation representatives traveled with Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), which is one of the foundation’s Immigrant Families Initiative grantees.

With the help of the SAF team and the South Carolina Department of Education Migrant Education Program, foundation staff and board members interacted with men working on farms to better understand their lives—men who often leave their home country in search of money to send home to families, which puts them in a new country without any close relationship and without access to appropriate care.

“The evening captured the essence of a societal problem affecting thousands of people and made it personal for us,” said Patricia Moore-Pastides, community volunteer and foundation board member. “I saw men who report working on average 14 hours a day in the fields of South Carolina where our summers range from hotter to hottest. I saw them return from the fields to their temporary home, a barracks called a camp with a wet cement floor, no air conditioning and a run-down community kitchen.”

The foundation’s Immigrant Families Initiative is dedicated to enhancing individual and family well-being. This is accomplished through grant making; forming strategic partnerships to support organizations that lift immigrant families out of poverty; and supporting efforts to build inclusive, welcoming environments for immigrants and their children as they integrate into South Carolina,

“What stood out to me that the fact that the two men I ate with both talked about God and their faith,” said Karen Smith, foundation board member. “It is noteworthy and moving that these men hold onto their faith despite their challenges.”

Pictured are board members Karen Smith and Maria Kratsios, who took part in a group activity meant to introduce participants.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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