Only $7,000 left until $25,000 donated from Simmons Law
With the summer demand for financial help from union families out of work coming in at an average of 15 families a week, the Greater St. Louis Labor Council has issued a special call for financial aid to all working union members even as the $5 for the Fight Fund got an infusion of $25,000 from the Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm.
Meeting its challenge grant commitment from last year, the firm’s Chris Guinn presented a $25,000 check to the Labor Council last week, bringing to $75,000 the total the firm has donated over the past three years for their challenge grants to help the Fight Fund raise money.
MORE HELP NEEDED TO MEET DEMAND
Even with that generous contribution, the $5 for the Fight Fund is woefully short of the cash needed to meet the growing demand. The Fund had only a little more than $7,000 left last week when it received the check from Simmons.
“Last week alone, we had 26 requests,” United Way Labor Liaison Roz Sherman-Voellinger said.
She and Labor Liaison Amy Phillips work feverishly to find help to meet the volume of crisis calls from families in need of assistance to pay medical or utility bills, buy medicine or food.
Those payments, made directly to the vendors, come from the $5 for the Fight Fund.
Other help comes in the form of referrals to United Way agencies for specialized support.
‘TEARS YOUR HEART OUT’
“It tears your heart out,” Sherman-Voellinger said, “to hear the needs union families have. Without the $5 for the Fight Fund help, most of the people and families we are able to help would have nowhere else to turn, that’s why the Fund is so vital.”
It’s not just Missouri families who are suffering, she said. The situation in Illinois is just as bad, with billionaire Gov. Bruce Rauner cutting social service agency budgets and staff. “It’s horrendous,” she said.
YOUR MONEY AT WORK
Your contributions help fellow union members directly. Here are some examples of members who have been helped:
• A woman taking care of her young disabled sister was on the verge of a breakdown the stress seriously impacting her own health. The Fight Fund was able to get her to a doctor and she’s now doing better.
“You’ve been a Godsend to me,” she wrote. “I express my deepest, deepest gratitude to everyone who’s helping out.”
• A young single mother with children became homeless. The Fight Fund was able to get her temporary housing.
“I’m doing better now,” she wrote. “Thanks for looking out for me and my children. I can’t begin to tell you what its meant to us.”
• A man with three small children has his wife in hospice. He’s trying to work, take care of his children and be with his wife. Medical bills are mounting. The Fight Fund is helping with the medical costs.
DONATIONS QUICKLY SPENT
Since the first of the year, the Fight Fund has paid out $57,245 to aid 256 union families. At that rate, the $32,000 now available will go quickly.
“We are being deluged with requests for help,” Sherman-Voellinger said, noting that several requests for assistance are pending right now.
THANKS TO SIMMONS LAW
“The commitment Simmons Law has made to the labor movement is moving and heart warming,” said Labor Council President Pat White in accepting the firm’s latest donation.
“Even though the economy is starting to revive, we still have far too many families still either out-of-work or scratching to get buy because they’ve had to take lower paying jobs and are working two and three jobs to make ends meet. They come to the Fight Fund for help.
“We’re got to be able to meet their emergency needs,” White said. “It’s what union members do for one another.”
Here’s how you can help union families
To help union brothers and sisters in real need, here’s how you can donate to the $5 for the Fight Fund:
- Mail: Send a check/money order to “$5 for the Fight” to: $5 for the Fight, c/o St. Louis Labor Council, 3301 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044. Please include your union affiliation.
- Online: Go to labortribune.com and click “$5 for the Fight Donations” to be taken to a secure payment site.
- Reoccurring credit card donation: Go to labortribune.com, click “$5 for the Fight Donations” to go to the secure donations page, check the “Automatic monthly deduction” and the amount you want to give. Each month your designated donation will be automatically deducted from your credit card.
LEVELS OF GIVING
There are nine categories of giving:
- Apprentice - $1 to $12/ George Washington Honor Roll
- Journeyman - $13-50/Andrew Jackson Honor Roll
- Steward - $51-$99/ Ulysses S. Grant Honor Roll
- Chief Steward - $100 +/Ben Franklin Honor Roll
- Job Foreman- $500+ / William McKinley Honor Roll
- General Foreman - $1,000 +/ Grover Cleveland Honor Roll
- Major Donors - $2,500 +
- In Memoriam - to honor a loved one or friend or fellow union member.
The Honor Roll of givers is published in the Labor Tribune in the first issue of each month.
If your gift moves you from one category to another, your name will automatically move into the appropriate honor roll.
Remember, 100 percent of your donation goes into the “Fight Fund.” All efforts to promote and service the Fund are donated by the Labor Council, United Way and the Labor Tribune.