Union Members Serve as Santa’s Helpers for Holiday Season

Service to our communities and giving back to those in need is a hallmark of union activism. This week we’d like to spotlight three Central Labor Councils held community service projects that benefit children in need in communities across the state this holiday season.

For 20 years now, the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council has held the annual ‘Stuff the Bus’ Toy Drive, helping those less fortunate in the holiday season. CLC President Darrin Kelly and his team continue to demonstrate what unions do – help one another. Santa, with the help of an ATU superbus, collected hundreds of toys donated by union members.

In Lancaster, CLC President Jean Martin and her community services committee held their annual ARC Angel Gift Giving project. Every year the CLC coordinates with unions across the county to donate hundreds of holiday gifts to the elderly and children, who otherwise would go without. Labor unions have helped the ARC of Lancaster, an organization that aides adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to bring joy to the holiday season for the last 15 years.

While these two Central Labor Councils are examples of annual holiday giving projects, it’s always encouraging when our CLCs take on new traditions. This year, the Clearfield-Elk-Cameron-Jefferson CLC has started a project for children entering the foster care system. Too often, children in crisis situations must leave with whatever they can fit in a trash bag, or without any possessions and necessities at all. The CLC has gathered donations of toiletries, clothing and other needed items to pack in backpacks for those in a moment where even the smallest kindness has a huge impact. The CLC has also started Little Free Pantries in their area.

Spreading care and compassion this holiday season goes far beyond the presents under a tree. We are so proud of the work of our union sisters and brothers. These three projects are certainly not the only acts of service from unions and CLCs across the state, and we look forward to sharing even more stories of giving. If your local union of labor council has a project, please let us know and email sshewmaker@paaflcio.org.