Holiday gift program for kids hospitalized over Christmas gets $12,124 boost from Teamsters Joint Council 13

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FOR KIDS IN THE HOSPITAL AT CHRISTMAS, Teamsters Joint Council 13 raised $12,124 for St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Snowflake Village, a free shopping bazaar for families to pick gifts for their children who must be hospitalized over Christmas. Presenting the check is Council 13 President Marvin Kropp (center, left) presents the check to Children’s Hospital’s Special Events Coordinator Kathryn Lodes. Also on hand were (from left) Local 618 Trustee Clint Hankins, Local 610 Trustee John Miller, Local 618 Trustee Mike Ham, Local 688 Principal Officer Mike Goebel, Local 610 Principal Officer Mike Lieser, Local 610 President Jeff Hall, State Representative Bob Burns, Local 600 Principal Officer Larry Tinker, Dianne Burns, Local 833 Principal Officer Mark Bruemmer, Kropp, Local 618 Recording Secretary Tom Cole, Lodes, Local 600 Secretary-Treasurer Scott Gilchrist, Local 618 Vice President Derek Kropp, Local 682 Vice President Dave Absher, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Lauren Warner, Local 682 Trustee Mike Motsinger, Local 688 Business Agent Pat Raftery, Local 688 Vice President Roland Lewis, and Local 600 Trustees Mike Grzyb and John Ketting. – Teamsters Joint Council 13 photo by Kate McKay.

Largest single donation ever to bring joy to hospitalized young children

By ED FINKELSTEIN

Publisher

St. Louis - Teamsters Joint Council 13 is going to make a lot of children stuck in the hospital over Christmas a lot happier with the largest cash donation ever given to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation for Snowflake Village.

The $12,124 donation was raised at the Joint Council’s 1st Annual Dan McKay Memorial Bass Tournament held earlier this year, and presented to Snowflake Village Children’s Hospital Special Events Coordinator Kathryn Lodes and Lauren Warner at the Council’s meeting last month by Joint Council President Marvin Kropp and officers of affiliated Teamsters locals.

Children's Hospital logo copy

Snowflake Village is the heartfelt creation of St. Louis Children’s Hospital to help their young patients who are confined over Christmas still have a joyful holiday. Visiting siblings also get a gift. Launched last year, the Village provides a free shopping bazaar for parents to to select and wrap a gift to give their children for Christmas, a gift they might not otherwise receive because of the family’s financial circumstances.

Snowflake Village copy
A HOLIDAY BAZAAR at St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Snowflake Village for children hospitalized over Christmas allows visiting parents to ensure their kids have a Christmas gift. Parents and volunteers wrap gifts, often specifically chosen by the children. Visiting siblings get a gift as well. – Screencapture from Snowflake Village promotional video

For children who are alone with no visitors, the nurses serve as pseudo-parents and wrap gifts for them. If they are able, the children are allowed to come into the Village themselves and pick their own toy.

‘OVERWELMED’

Lodes, the hospital’s special events coordinator said the Teamsters’ gift was the single largest donation they had ever received and they were “overwhelmed by the union’s generosity.”

The Joint Council learned of Snowflake Village last Christmas from retired Teamster and Missouri State Representative Bob Burns, who told the Labor Tribune he’s always had a dream about taking a truck load of gifts and people to a children’s hospital over Christmas. After working in the legislature with a hospital representative, he saw the chance to make that dream come true.

MAKING THE DREAM COME TRUE

Burns reached out to Kropp about the Teamsters making a gift of support for Snowflake Village.

Union Elves
A VISIT LAST YEAR WAS ALL IT TOOK to convince Teamsters Joint Council 13 to get behind St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Snowflake Village. Discovering the tremendous joy brought to sick children hospitalized during 2013 Christmas season were (from left,) Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis, Teamsters 688 Secretary-Treasurer Mike Goebel, UFCW Local 655 Director of Organizing/Political Affairs Merri Berry, Joint Council 13 President Marvin Kropp (secretary-treasurer of Local 618) and State Representative Bob Burns, a retired Teamster who initiated the visit.

After hearing about the wonderful work Snowflake Village does for families of sick children spending Christmas in the hospital, Burns invited Kropp, Council Vice President Mike Goebel (secretary-treasurer Teamsters Local 688), Mike Louis, then secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO and Merri Berry, director of organizing/political affairs for UFCW Local 655, to visit the hospital with him. After the visit, they immediately signed onto his dream.

Between the unions and personal donations, they quickly raised $3,100 and bought gifts for Snowflake Village. On Christmas Eve they all went to Children’s Hospital to help wrap the gifts for the children. Burns’s legislative assistant Patrick Mulcahy joined them.

“It was a very moving experience,” Kropp said, “to see the joy of the children when they received their gifts. When picking a charity for the bass tournament, Snowflake Village was our first choice.”

UNION BENEVOLENCE

“It’s a dream come true that once again shows that unions not only set the standards for wages and benefits, but for benevolence as well,” Burns said proudly.

“We look forward to partnering with Snowflake Village in our future charity bass tournaments,” Kropp added. “Teamsters Joint Council 13 would like to thank everyone who made a contribution to this great cause and to all the hard work that everyone put into this event to make it such a huge success! If you missed this year’s tournament, be sure to get involved next year.”

The tournament memorializes Dan McKay, retired Joint Council president (Teamster Local 600 president) who died in 2011.

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