Members of Tacoma, Wash., Local 483 donated a record 4,015 jars of peanut butter to the Emergency Food Network in Pierce County on May 13.
Local 483 coordinated 75 volunteers to form a human chain to move six tons – $12,000 worth – of donated peanut butter from the Local 483 building to the offices of the Pierce County Central Labor Council at Local 483’s sister Tacoma local, Local 76, a block away.
“We have many unions that contribute to hunger relief, but IBEW is the heart of the labor movement on this issue,” said Helen McGovern-Pilant, executive director of the Emergency Food Network.
The peanut butter has been distributed to food banks across Pierce County.
|Volunteers form a human chain to deliver donated peanut butter for distribution in Pierce County, Wash.
“Our local has supported the Emergency Food Network since 2011,” said Local 483 Business Manager Alice Phillips, who also serves on the board of the organization. “The need for donations is great in Pierce County and we take this event very seriously. We’ve worked hard to earn first place in donations the last two years.”
The event was covered by the Tacoma News Tribune and featured on the Local 483 Facebook page. IBEW members also launched a drone that provided video of the volunteers at work.
Local 483 received strong support from other local unions as well as friends in the electrical industry and the community. Many Local 483 members contributed generously to the cause. They spent their hard-earned money to help us show that IBEW cares deeply about our neighbors. “We were proud to place a label on each jar of peanut butter that states it was donated by members of Local 483,” Phillips said.
Local 483 members started collecting peanut butter on Jan. 1. Phillips worked with local union grocery stores to get the most from the monetary donations they received.
One in five households relies on food bank donations in Pierce County, where the rebounding economy has left out the middle class, working class and working poor. “The elderly are struggling, working families can’t find jobs at a decent wage and the foreclosure rate is high,” said McGovern-Pilant. Since 2011 there has been an 11 percent increase in visits made to food banks in the county.