By SHERI GASSAWAY
Laborers Local 110 helped more than 150 of its members’ families lessen the burden of back-to-school expenses with its 14th Annual Backpack Drive.
Local 110 donated $10,000 toward the cost of 504 backpacks filled with age-appropriate school supplies for the event, which was held Aug. 10 at its union hall located in Sunset Hills. It also featured free haircuts, dental supplies and drawings for gift cards and for baskets filled with school supplies for teachers.
Sarah Schwartz, Local 110 office manager and organizer of the event, said the backpacks were given to children in preschool through 12th grade. She said 300 were given out during the event, and more were provided to union members during their regular union meeting for those who were unable to attend the event.
EXTRA BACKPACKS TO HELP HYDE PARK COMMUNITY
“The remainder of the backpacks were given to St. Louis Alderman Brandon Bosley to distribute in the Hyde Park neighborhood where Xavier Usanga was fatally shot,” Schwartz said. The 7-year-old was one of 12 children who died from gun violence in St. Louis since April.
Ashley Boyer, said this was the fifth year in a row her family has attended the event. Her husband Joe Boyer, a 14-year member of 110, actually began his career as a laborer the same day as their oldest child Breana was born.
‘HELPS US OUT’
“The kids look forward to it every year, and the stylist who cuts Breana’s hair has been doing it the last five years so she’s familiar with it,” Boyer said. “It’s a great event and really helps us out when we send the kids back to school each year.”
Megan Brooks, wife of Local 110 member Robert Brooks, brought their three children to the event, and each received a free backpack. She called the effort pretty awesome.
“It alleviates some of the financial stress for our family around this time of year,” she said. “Every little bit helps.”
FREE HEALTH SCREENINGS
The event also provided free health screenings for members of Laborers Locals 110 and 42 and their families.
Christopher Daniels, a 19-year member of Local 110, took advantage of the free blood pressure check.
“It’s a nice event, and very well organized,” Daniels said.
Local 110 started the backpack drive about 14 years ago in response to the recession. It has continued the event due to the great response from member families.