Members of Syracuse, N.Y., Local 43 on the job earlier this year. The local donated more than 700 meals to frontline medical workers on Easter Sunday.

Throughout its 124-year history, Syracuse, N.Y., Local 43 has had a tradition of giving back to the central New York communities it serves. So, when most of the area shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its members figured out how to step up in a big way.

Easter Sunday was a fitting backdrop for Local 43 officials and members to partner with two local restaurants to provide more than 700 meals to frontline employees at area hospitals.

“We wanted to let the health care workers know we have their backs,” Business Manager Alan Marzullo said, “because we know they have ours.”

The meals were sent to employees of Crouse Hospital, Upstate University Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Syracuse along with the St. Elizabeth Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital in Utica, N.Y. Local 43 signatory contractors have agreements with all those facilities.

Marzullo said aiding workers at health-care centers that have supplied work to Local 43 members over the years made the experience even more rewarding. So did purchasing the meals from two local restaurants – The Preserve in Syracuse and Aqua Vino in Utica – who, like most restaurants across the country, have seen their business plummet during the pandemic.

Local 43 spent more than $10,000 on the meals and also left a 20 percent tip for workers, many of whom have had their hours cut due to the pandemic.

“The owners had shared with us that without this order, they would have had to let some of their workforce go,” Marzullo said. “It makes you feel good to know you helped out someone who needed it.”

And the good deed paid off for Local 43, too. The story was picked up by radio and television stations and other media in and around Syracuse, allowing Marzullo to talk about the work Local 43 members are doing to help the area – before and during the pandemic.

“It gave us a chance to tell people not to forget the men and women working in the electrical industry and the skilled trades,” he said. “They’re putting their boots on every day and keeping our electrical and communication systems going.”