$5 for Fight Fund launches 2014 drive; $87,168 raised in ’13

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Donations slowing; need still there

121002_five_dollar_ap_328The slowly recovering economy is taking its toll on Labor’s $5 for the Fight Campaign. That’s both good news and bad news:

Good news in that more people are getting back to work.

Bad news in that there are thousands who want to work but there are still not enough jobs, and those families are still facing serious financial pressures, which the $5 for the Fight Fund is trying to help alleviate as it continues to help wherever, needed.

More Bad news: the amount of contributions to the Fight Fund is dropping off precariously which relates to either previous givers who are now out of work and seeking help themselves OR more caution by everyone who is working, putting away money “just in case” because jobs are not rebounding as quickly as hoped. During the past three years, only 2012 saw a slight increase. Since 2009 there has been a seesaw impact on donations.

In 2012, thanks to your generosity and the support of the Simmons Law Firm’s successful $25,000 Challenge Grant, its second in as many years, a total of $93,829 was raised to help 417 families from 67 locals. However, as we launch the 2014 campaign, only $41,694 is available to meet the needs of hundreds of families still seeking work but not finding it and facing pressing medical, housing, utility bills and much more.

“We appreciate the struggle our friends in the unions are having and we are happy to be able to help in such a meaningful way,” said attorney Chris Guinn at the Simmons Law Firm. “We are contemplating a third Challenge Grant soon.”

This brings the total raised since the campaign began in 1996 to $826,852, closing in on our unofficial goal of $1 million.

CRYING ON THE PHONE

If you can help the widows, union members and retirees who need help, please right now write a check for whatever you can afford to “$5 for the Fight” knowing that your contribution will help someone in desperate need. Tragically, proud union members only turn to the Fight Fund when situations grow desperate.

“We have men who have worked hard all their lives crying on the phone as they ask for help, ashamed that they can’t find work to support their families,” said Roz Sherman-Voellinger, United Way Labor Liaison who handles the requests for help. “These are often the same people who have given to the Fight Fund many times while they are working and now have to turn to it for help.”

WAYS TO GIVE

There are three ways to give:

Mail: Check/money order to “$5 for the Fight” mailed to: $5 for the Fight, c/o St. Louis Labor Council, 3301 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044; please include your union affiliation.

• On linewww.labortribune.com, click “$5 for the Fight Donations” that takes you to a secure payment site.

• Reoccurring credit card donation: www. labortribune.com, “$5 for the Fight Donations.” Click: “Automatic monthly deduction,” the amount and how many months you want the deduction to be made.

LEVELS OF GIVING

Remember, there are now seven categories of giving:

Apprentice - $1 to $12/ George Washington Honor Roll

Journeyman - $13-50/Andrew Jackson Honor Roll

Steward - $51-$99/ Ulysses S. Grant Honor Roll

Chief Steward - $100 +/Ben Franklin Honor Roll

Job Foreman- $500+ / William McKinley Honor Roll

General Foreman - $1,000 +/ Grover Cleveland Honor Roll

In Memoriam - to honor a loved one or friend or fellow union member.

If your gift moves you from one category to another, your name will automatically move into the appropriate honor roll.

Remember, 100 percent of donation goes into the “Fight Fund.” From a lot of grateful people, “thank you” for agreeing that “we share because we care for one another.”

IF YOU NEED HELP

If you are in need of emergency financial help, please don’t be too proud to ask for assistance. Here’s how:

• First, you must contact your local union who will verify membership;

• Second, your local will forward the request to the labor liaison staff at the United Way who will then process requests in line with established criteria.

No direct requests to the United Way for this help will be accepted; only referrals from a local union will be honored. No money goes to individuals; approved funds pay bills direct.

All contacts are strictly confidential!

In addition to the “$5 for the Fight” funds, the United Way has set aside some monies to help as well. Plus, the United Way can make referrals to other agencies where specific kinds of help and services are available at no cost.

The Fight Honor Roll is published the first week of each month in the Labor Tribune to acknowledge the kindness and generosity of donors.

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