By ED FINKELSTEIN
Greater St. Louis Area – Thanks to the support of union families, the First Labor Food Drive collected 10 tons of food for St. Louis area families to make the Christmas holiday a bit more joyful by helping put food on their tables.
In addition to the food donations, unions and union families also contributed $3,500 in cash and food gift cards.
Last week’s food collection will feed 15,950 people, the United Way announced in a “Thank You” message to all who donated bags, boxes and cases of needed food items at five area union halls – IBEW Local 1, Laborers Local 110, CWA Local 6300, the Tri-County Labor Club and the St. Louis Labor Council — and the unions’ staff and volunteers who helped.
YOU CAN COUNT ON UNION FAMILIES
“Thanks to each and every person who contributed and volunteered to help,” said Pat White, president, St. Louis Labor Council. “We made quite an impact in our effort to help those in need. You can always count on the Labor Movement and our members when there’s a need. It shows what Labor can do for the community and how much we care.”
John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, said “It’s yet another demonstration of the generosity our union families, many of who are facing hardships themselves, to turn around and give to make sure others don’t go hungry this holiday season. When there is a need, our unions and our members are there.”
‘NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS’
It’s a clear example of “neighbors helping neighbors,” say Rose McCowan, director of the United Way’s Labor Engagement Division, and Vice President Sonja Gholston-Byrd, who were key to organizing the effort.
“We are grateful to the active and retired union members and community friends for their prompt response to give to those in need of food, and to the union leaders that allowed the use of their halls,” they said.
‘HUNGER NEVER TAKES A HOLIDAY’
“We greatly appreciate the support of the AFL-CIO,” said Jordan Brennan, product donation coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank. “This not only helps ease some of the burdens families are facing in this time of need, but just as importantly, it provides hope.
“We can’t begin to thank all of the union members and families for their support, time and hard work to make this possible. I was astounded with the amount of food collected.”
The St. Louis Area Foodbank, in a normal year before the COVID-19 pandemic, serves some 393,000 families. This year, with the pandemic forcing many out of work since March 16, the Foodbank has provided 36,377,320 meals – an increase of 46 percent over the same period last year.
“Hunger never takes a holiday,” Brennan said.
Donation totals: 15,959 meals
Here are the details provided by the St. Louis Area Foodbank on the first Labor Food Drive held last week to fill in for the COVID-19 forced cancellation of the Greater St. Louis Area Council of Boys Scouts’ annual Scouting for Food Drive.
• Central: IBEW Local 1 – 3,699 pounds of food collected (3,020 meals).
• South: Laborers Local 110 – 3,330 pounds collected (2,718 meals).
• West: CWA Local 6300 – 1,455 pounds collected (1,455 meals).
• St. Charles: The Tri-County Labor Club – 3,634 pounds collected (2,967 meals).
• North: St. Louis Labor Council – 3,699 pounds collected (3,020 meals).
All totaled, 10 tons of non-perishable food items were collected, enough to provide 15,959 meals.
Well done, everyone!