Members of Steamfitters Local 439 donate nutritious food and good cheer to area food pantries

Illinois Correspondent

St. Vincent DePaul Director Pat Hogrebe (right) greets Steamfitters Local 439 Business Manager Mark Thomas (center) and Local 439 Business Agent Charlie Bailey. – Labor Tribune photo

Steamfitters Local 439 gave the holiday season a kick start on Thursday by delivering $1,000 worth of groceries each to two places where needy folks can find a meal – St. Vincent DePaul Ministry Center in East St. Louis and the Community Care Center in Granite City.

Business Manager Mark Thomas and Business Agent Charlie Bailey pulled in with pickup truck-loads of supplies for each of the centers after buying the groceries at Schnucks.

“As a membership, we decided it would be nice to donate back to the communities in our jurisdiction. It was all the members from Steamfitters 439 voting to do this,” Thomas said.

Among the donations were breakfast bars, fruit bars, fresh fruit, chips, coffee, laundry detergent and oatmeal.

At St. Vincent DePaul Center, on State Street, Director Pat Hogrebe said the delivery was a godsend for the 200 to 300 people who come every day for meals and services.

STEAMFITTERS LOCAL 439 Business Manager Mark Thomas (in brown jacket) joins St. Vincent DePaul volunteers unloading supplies handed down from the truck by Business Agent Charlie Bailey. – Labor Tribune photo

“We will use it, and it gets used quickly,” she said. “Coffee every morning and breakfast. We serve three meals a day, so it’ll get used really quickly. We always need it.”

She said the daily visitation runs from 200 to 300 people

“Our need is up. We have more folks right now with winter,” she added. “We’re busier than we ever thought we would be. Our drop-in will have 60 a night, so we’re in constant need of supplies. I never knew we could use so much stuff.

“We use a lot of kitchen supplies,, a lot of cleaning supplies, a lot of paper supplies, a lot of food, you name it.”

Local trades unions including the Steamfitters made major improvements to the center in 2017, and now the kitchen is being enlarged to accommodate the demands for meals.

Charlie Bailey helps a St. Vincent volunteer to unload donations from the back of a truck. – Labor Tribune photo

The Community Care Center, at 1818 Cleveland Blvd., Granite City, provides meals for people in Granite City, Madison, Mitchell, Pontoon Beach and Venice.

On Monday through Thursday, they provide sack lunches between 11 a.m. and noon, plus breakfast Saturday mornings from 8:30 to 10 a.m., take-out only. The soup kitchen there serves lunch Monday through Thursday.

Said Thomas: “We always try to give back to the community whenever we can,”

People who would like to contribute to the St. Vincent DePaul efforts can find a PayPal donation page at or call (618) 394-0126. To contact the Community Care Center, call (618) 876-8770.

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