For the 27th year a IAM Local 1871 run food pantry in Groton, CT, provided more than 150 Thanksgiving baskets for out-of-work members, needy families and others in the community.
Volunteers distributed baskets to families which included a complete Thanksgiving dinner, supplied at no cost to working families who might not otherwise enjoy a traditional holiday dinner in the current economy.
“Union members from District 26 all across Connecticut, and Rhode Island support this effort every year,” said IAM District 26 Directing Business Representative Everett Corey. “This isn’t the only effort these members support, but much more, from GDA events to community projects, our members are at the forefront in providing assistance where needed in the communities we live, and work. A big thank you goes out to Business Representative Pat Buzzee and Local President Jim Underhill for all their efforts in making this a success.”
“Union members are always at the front of the line when it comes to giving back,” said Eastern Territory GVP Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “Our members know that making a difference in the lives of the people around them is how we all succeed. Nobody wins unless we all win.”
The pantry, known as the Local 1871 Gemma Moran United Way Labor Food Center, is the only continually-operating food pantry in the country founded and run by union members. The idea grew out of a garage food pantry that began during a strike in 1988.
Local 1871 prides itself on providing everything for a traditional dinner, making sure a complete dinner is provided, right down to the “Made in the USA” aluminum roaster pan to cook the turkey. Lodge President Jim “Sparky” Underhill heads up the drive with other volunteers from the local, taking in the donations, stocking shelves and assembling the baskets.
From gate to collections, and donations from individuals, volunteers collected nearly $7,000 to help with the project. Texas Roadhouse restaurant in New London, CT, also donated 125 fresh dinner rolls for the meal baskets.
“I’m extremely proud we continue to be able to help as many families as we have for all these years,” said Underhill. “Everyone works extremely hard to make this happen every year. Because of the success of the Thanksgiving donations, we will be able to distribute more baskets for future holidays.”
IAM members and others working at Electric Boat in Groton, as well as the Metal Trades Council and Marine Draftsmen’s Association/United Autoworkers, make the baskets possible through donations. The effort has grown to also include many community businesses.