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Because of the high levels of unemployment, reliance on food banks was increased significantly. Sorting food, handing it out and meal delivery to those in need and the elderly all required helping hands. There were also several projects to which carpenters donated their time and money to organizations in need.
Members volunteered with Violence In Boston Inc.; an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in their community and providing support to victims of violence. NASRCC provided new counters, walls, doors and floors for the organization’s new offices and provided a monetary donation as well.
Chelsea Collaborative is an organization that is known for the valuable role they play in the city, including distributing thousands of meals for people. The union rented an electric pallet jack to pick up and move around food and also covered the cost on a rental truck to transport donations.
NASRCC Organizer Martin Sanchez led the charge, with other members stepping up multiple times a week to help sort food and assemble and move the 45-pound boxes given to those in need. They worked alongside Chelsea City Council President Roy Alex Avellaneda and newly elected Council member, Melinda Vega. Thousands of boxes of food have been and continue to be distributed.
When Local 328 member Barbara Surjbally was little, she would help her mom at the Roslindale Food Pantry in Roslindale, MA. For 30 years, she’s kept it up on Saturdays, missing only a few weeks over that span. She’s now a member of Local 328 and her mom is the food bank’s director. During the COVID -19 pandemic, she started volunteering on Fridays, when the food bank unloads 10,000 pounds of food for the Saturday box assembly and distribution.
Surjbally recruited other union members to volunteer, including four SIB members and some of their relatives. The group gathered to help on most Friday and Saturdays. The number of families served doubled during the pandemic, reaching over 200 families a week.
“It’s meaningful because in the beginning, when I was young, my family was a client of the food pantry. Because it helped us when
we needed help, we now give back in return for the help we received,” she said.
Carpenters Local 279 worked with Assembly member Colin Schmitt and local leaders, including the Mayor of Woodbury, Tim Egan, to deliver free meals to seniors and people in need. The Assemblyman represents the Town of Stony Point in Rockland County and the towns of Wawayanda, Goshen, Hamptonburgh, Chester, Blooming Grove, New Windsor, Cornwall, Highlands and Woodbury in Orange County.
Assemblyman Schmitt, Woodbury Mayor Tim Egan, local officials, Carpenters Local 279, and the Falkirk Estate & Country Club delivered hundreds of meals to seniors and those in need across the 99th Assembly District twice a week at no charge.