The United Way of Greater St. Louis announced last week that it has set another fundraising campaign record, thanks, in part, to the strong support of labor men and women who understand the importance of helping others.
United Way and organized labor share a history of partnership dating back to WW II. Helping to build a healthier community is not only a union tradition – it’s the mission of United Way.
In recent times, many in the labor community are struggling with unemployment, short hours and the high price of basic needs, but the United Way has been there for us. Now, it’s important for those who can afford it to continue to be there for them. Contributing time, skills and money to the United Way, union members help to make a huge difference in our communities.
Labor leaders serve on the United Way Executive Board, Regional Auxiliary Boards and Allocation Committees, as well as coordinate community service projects and volunteer at many of our United Way agencies.
This year, your Local 655 President David Cook served as Labor Co-Chair of the United Way’s 2013-14 fundraising campaign, playing a significant role in boosting Labor Union contributions—funds that will likely come back to the labor community in the form of much needed help.
In May, our union brothers and sisters with the National Association of Letter Carriers held their 21st annual food drive, collecting 732,843 pounds of food (7,196 pounds more than in 2012). These contributions come at a critical time with food pantries struggling to meet the needs of communities.
In September, the Labor/United Way Trap Shoot & BBQ aimed for a target of $25,000, helping even more people through the United Way. AFL-CIO Councils include the St. Louis Labor Council, and St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council. Greater Madison County Federation of Labor, Southwestern IL Central Labor Council and the Southwestern IL Building & Construction Trades Council sponsored the event.
Employers such as Schnucks, Shop ‘n Save and Dierbergs each did their part to support the United Way, and many of us stepped up to help United Way exceed its 2013-14 fundraising goal of $72.25 million.
This year’s campaign collected donations from more than 200,000 people, representing employee groups, labor unions, corporations and government workers.
“Labor has definitely stepped up our awareness of the good things United Way does and the funds needed to meet the needs of those struggling with this horrid economy,” Cook said. “And the United Way has stood behind our union brothers and sisters who need help.”
The United Way/ Labor Community Services Liaison Program provides more than 600 families with confidential help each year from the United Way staff of Labor Liaisons. Through the United Way’s 2-1-1 program (dial 211 for help) the agency connects people to services that will help them live their best life – from basic needs to child care to disaster relief to counseling. Whether it’s helping to fill a home food pantry or paying for heat during the cold winter months, United Way is there for us.
The United Way closed its fundraising drive in the first week of November, but funds are still coming in from the labor union community. If you have yet to donate, you may still complete your donation card and submit it to your employer.
“It all starts with the generosity of working men and women like those in Local 655,” Cook said. “My job was to get Union leaders and members to step up, and I’m proud to say the labor community didn’t let me down.”
The United Way supports more than 170 agencies in 16 Missouri and Illinois counties. Supported groups include the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.