Vidalia Onion Workers Begin Arriving in South Georgia

Posted: 6/1/2008

Glenmary missions, with the help of local volunteers, help meet spiritual and material needs

[Georgia] In the early part of April members of the Angels of Mercy, a volunteer corp from St. Joseph Hospital/Candler in Savannah, Ga., delivered two truckloads of food to Glenmary's mission in Claxton, Ga.

The $5,000 worth of food will be distributed to the workers arriving in local migrant camps who will work the Vidalia onion harvest.

The Angels of Mercy, named in honor of the Sisters of Mercy who founded St. Joseph Hospital, is a group of employees and family members of the hospital that work to serve the impoverished people of coastal Georgia.

Father Bob Poandl, pastor of St. Christopher mission in Claxton, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sandhill and Holy Cross in Pembroke, began celebrating Mass in the camps in the middle of April.

Each year over 9,000 migrant workers plant the onion crop in South Georgia from September through February and return to harvest it from April through mid-June.

Glenmary missions in South Georgia work with local agencies and receive donations from groups like Angels of Mercy to help meet the needs of these workers while they are in the area.

For many of the workers, the care packages they receive, filled with food and personal items, are lifelines. Both Father Bob and Father John Brown, pastor of Glenmary's mission in nearby Swainsboro, are frequent visitors to the camps during the spring and fall migrant seasons.

In addition to celebrating Mass, they visit with the workers and help meet their material and spiritual needs.