MECCA, Calif. - As the temperatures begin to rise, the conditions in the desert can become extreme, especially for farm workers in the East valley.
Valentin Martinez spends hours in the sun everyday working in the farm fields of the East valley. He says he's pretty used to it, but according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, farm workers are 20 times more likely to die of heat stroke than all other workers.
Gloria Gomez, founder of the Galilee Center in Mecca, knows first hand what it's like to be the field and in the extreme heat.
"I was a farm worker myself and I understand completely what they're going through, especially the children and the moms," Gomez said.
Which is why the Galilee center wants to make sure farm workers protect themselves from the sun, heat and sand. The center is collecting gently used light long sleeve shirts to reduce heat related illnesses.
"Well, they can be exhausted, they can get a stroke, the can get a headache," Gomez said.
Just like a long sleeve shirt can help keep you warm on a cold day, it also protects by keeping the heat out, and it minimizes the exposure to the sun's UV rays, which can cause cancer.
Martinez says the he thinks the effort to help those out in the field is a good one.
"The tremendous heat that not only comes from the top, but from the bottom, because the dirt is so hot," Gomez said.
She says they often run out of long sleeve shirts...
"All the time... if we put one out, they want five and we don't have enough," she said.
People interested in donating can gather all of their long sleeve shirts and call the Galilee Center, who will come to your home and pick up the donations for free.
The center also looks for other donations such as food, shoes, and even furniture to help lower income families in the East valley.
To contact the center you can call (760) 396-9100. All of your donations are 100% tax deductible.
You can also find more information by heading to the center's website www.galileecenter.org
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