The Weather Network
May. 20, 2022 | Friday
Local News
NOTLers pitch in to help migrant workers affected by farm fire
Terry Weiner of Bikes for Farmworkers in the shop repairing bikes. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

NOTL’s Ken Eden and Terry Weiner of Bikes for Farmworkers have donated 10 bikes to migrant workers who were affected by the major fire at the St. Catharines’ Pioneer Flower Farms last Friday.

No one was hurt in the blaze but more than two dozen seasonal workers lost their belongings and homes.

Community donations have been pouring in since the fire broke out. Drop-off locations have been set up at Hernder Estates Wines and at a plaza at 318 Ontario St. in St. Catharines where people can bring clothing, food, toiletries and cash donations.

Weiner and Eden, who repair bikes for migrant workers for free at the old Virgil Public School, decided to donate 10 available bikes they had to the burned-out workers. They loaded all the bikes in a trailer and brought them to Hernder Wines, said Weiner.

“We’re an organization that’s just concerned with the migrant workers, to make sure they have safe transportation,” Weiner told The Lake Report. “They use (bikes) to get groceries, for social events. It gets them off the farm, so we wanted them to have safe working bikes.”

Pioneer Flower Farms is one of the largest bulb forcing farms in North America, producing over 40 million blooms per year, according to the farm’s website.

In a statement posted on the website, the Sikking family, who own the farm, asked people to cease all donations of clothes and toiletries as they have enough to “share amongst our migrant and local staff.”

“Anything above and beyond, we will be donating to Community Care,” Kristen Sikking said in a statement. “We assure you all funds will be divided amongst our staff to ensure their families are taken care of. Our workers are family who have been a part of our team for many years, and we will continue to support their future employment.”

An online GoFundMe page, started by Joni Sewist, has surpassed its goal of $5,000 but donations are still accepted. There is also a Facebook donation, set up by Carli Taylor-Hoffmann and Emergency Trust by Pen Financial Branches.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.