|Ivan Alonzo, Vice President of LCLAA’s Connecticut chapter and the Health & Safety Representative at IAM Local 700 in Middletown, CT presents IAM Local 1871 President Pat Buzzee with food to restock Local 1871’s long-running food bank in Groton, CT.|
IAM Local 1871 in Groton, CT recently completed its 22nd year of providing Thanksgiving baskets for dozens of out-of-work members and needy families in southeastern Connecticut. With Christmas just around the corner, the local is now teaming up with the Connecticut chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) to provide traditional holiday dinners for additional families in need.
Like their Thanksgiving efforts, the Christmas baskets will include a full holiday meal and will be provided at no cost thanks to donations by IAM members and others working at Electric Boat in Groton.
“The idea grew out of the food pantry that began during a strike in 1988,” said Local 1871 President Pat Buzzee. “One of our officers, James ‘Jimbo’ Grady, had the idea to supply a full dinner to every family using the food pantry during the holiday.”
While the IAM-run food bank has provided holiday meals to needy families every year since 1988, the poor economy created a strain on the facility, leaving shelves nearly barren for the first time in recent memory. “We provided dinner for over 60 families this past Thanksgiving but our plan to do the same at Christmas seemed to be in jeopardy,” continued Buzzee.
That’s when the Connecticut chapter of LCLAA came to the rescue. Led by Local 1746 President Geronimo Valdez and Local 700 Vice President Ivan Alonzo, the chapter voted to donate $1,500 to help restock the food bank pantry. “With LCLLA’s help we expect to provide for at least 40 families this Christmas,” said Buzzee. “Many thanks to Geronimo and Ivan as well as LCLAA Recording Secretary Tiana Ocasio-Nesmith and Local 1871 Vice President Jim Underhill for their compassion and dedication.”
“Connecticut is very fortunate to have member-driven organizations like the IAM and LCLAA, which are willing to step up and do what needs to be done when their neighbors are in need,” said District 26 DBR Everett Corey. “They have continued that tradition in the true IAM spirit of ‘Service to the Community.’”