Every year, IAM District 9 in Missouri carries out a community service project in line with the Midwest Territory’s “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community” initiative.
This year, District 9 H.E.L.P.S. Coordinator Darren Bierman led a project in which locals collected books to supply “sharing libraries” at four public locations in the town of Pacific, Mo.
“We chose Pacific because its literacy rate was one of the lowest in the state,” said Bierman. “There’s also quite a few industrial shops in the area that are not represented by a union, and we want to get the IAM name out there.”
“Sharing libraries” are simply designated spots for people to take, leave and return books.
About 18 volunteers from District 9 locals helped to install the libraries at each of the four locations, and Pacific’s mayor met them at each location. The District 9 H.E.L.P.S. committee and volunteers built and painted the library boxes, then stocked them full of donated books.
Locals in District 9 collected books from members to fill the libraries, and there were so many leftover that they now have a supply to restock the libraries if all the books are taken.
“It was amazing how many books were donated,” said Bierman. “We never counted, but I’d say it had to have been close to 1,000 books.”
The committee stamped each donated book with a message: “Donated by Machinists Union H.E.L.P.S. Community Service, District 9, St. Louis, MO”
“The amount of books donated to the committee was overwhelming,” said Bierman. “A big thank you to all who were involved.”
“The Midwest Territory is incredibly proud of the H.E.L.P.S. program and how our districts and locals support worthy and needed projects,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “It encourages members to get creative and get out in their communities. I want to personally thank District 9 members and leadership for implementing a wonderful idea to create community, connection, and interest in reading.”