By ED FINKELSTEIN
The Christmas Spirit of unions helping those in need, especially underprivileged children, continued through the holidays with additional programs shining a continuing light on the broader story of union giving.
HELPING UNION MEMBERS THROUGH $5 FOR THE FIGHT
Funding for $5 for the Fight took a major leap forward with more than $20,000 in donations from unions, union leadership and guests attending the St. Louis Labor Council’s annual Union Representatives Christmas gathering last week. The fund now has slightly over $38,000 as fund raising continues to meet the needs of out-of-work or underemployed union member families.
Among those contributing:
• The Southwestern Illinois Labor Council donated $3,000;
• The Missouri AFL-CIO donated $1,000;
• Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 donated $5,000, plus another $250 from Local 562 retirees;
• Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 2665 and retirees donated $2,250.
The giving didn’t stop with union members helping union members. It reached deep into our communities to help those most in need:
• Christmas With A Cop – The St. Louis City and County Police Officers Associations and the Fraternal Order of Police, hosted their third annual “Christmas with a Cop” program, taking 18 needy children selected by staff at Parker Elementary School in the Ferguson-Florissant School District shopping at a Target store, allowing them to spend $100 each, with funds provided by the three groups.
St. Louis Police Officers Association President Jeff Roorda said the program is “ a way of giving back to (those who) struggle through the holidays… Despite the bum rap they’ve gotten, cops are in the community every day making a difference in the lives of people in the toughest neighborhoods, under the toughest circumstances… Today is about creating good memories, where the cops and the kids get to be together when something great is happening.”
• Snowflake Village – State Rep. Bob Burns, a retired member of Teamsters Joint Council 13’s Local 600, and his wife Dianne, were joined by representatives from the Missouri AFL-CIO, the St. Louis Labor Council and SMART Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 Dec. 22 for the annual wrapping of hundreds of presents for St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Snowflake Village, where families with children in the hospital over the holidays can get gifts for their sick children.
Teamsters Joint Council 13 raised over $19,000 at this year’s Dan McKay Memorial Fishing Tournament, headed up by Council President Marvin Kropp, to benefit the Snowflake Village Christmas program. Over the past four yours, the tournament has raised more than $65,000 for the program.
• Food for families – Among the many food drives held by various unions, Lemay’s Feed My People and the Affton Food Pantry were the recipients of more than 6.5 tons of food collected in two separate food drives sponsored by State Representatives Doug Beck (Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562) and Bob Burns (Teamsters 600 retired) with the cooperation of the Shop ‘n Save stores on S. Lindbergh and Lemay Ferry Rd.
Generous shoppers provided more than $3,899 in food gift cards and cash during the drive, which was aided by volunteers from the St. Louis County Police Department, fire fighters from the Lemay, Mehlville and Affton fire departments and Bayless Elementary School Cub Scout Pack 2066.