By SHERI GASSAWAY
Arnold – It was the dog days of summer when the air conditioner went out at the Arnold Food Pantry and Thrift Store’s newly acquired storage building. But Phil Amato, president of the pantry’s board of directors, knew who to call for help: Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 36 Business Representative Tom Leonard.
After consulting with some of his union members and contractors, Leonard arranged to have a new air conditioner installed at no cost to the food pantry.
A TEAM EFFORT
Leonard along with Local 36 members Brad King, Steve Declue, Steve Frost, Ryan Nenninger and Matt Williams, volunteered to install the new unit.
Local 36 signatory contractors Scott Lee Heating and Cooling and Lennox donated the air conditioner, R.F. Meeh provided the duct work and American Metal Supply donated the grates.
IBEW Local 1 contractor Pioneer Electric volunteered its services to help power the system.
This isn’t the first time labor unions have helped the organization. The food pantry moved to its new location at 2024 Key West Dr. in Arnold in 2012. Local labor unions, including Local 36 and their contractors, helped renovate the building to the tune of $280,000 in cash, labor and materials.
“Local 36 donated between $60,000 and $70,000 in materials and labor when we were desperately trying to move into our current location,” Amato said. “We are so grateful to the union for its help and continued support.”
Leonard said Local 36 has been happy to help.
NEW ENERGY-EFFICIENT HEATING SYSTEM
In addition to the new air conditioner, former Local 36 member Al Coggins who owns Thermasi, donated and installed one of his company’s new energy-efficient heating systems that uses ceramics for the heating element. The contribution will allow the pantry to store food in its new storage facility and cut down on heating bills.
ABOUT THE PANTRY
The Arnold Food Pantry is the largest non-denominational food distribution center in the St. Louis region that does not receive city, state or federal government funding. The pantry, which feeds about 320 families a week, serves residents in Arnold and portions of Imperial and Fenton. For more information, call 636-287-3663 or visit wefeedthehungry.org.