IAM District 77 members, along with their families, recently gave back to an organization that helps feed thousands of Minnesota residents throughout the year.
More than 20 IAM volunteers gathered at Minnesota’s Community Emergency Services (CES) Food Shelf facility in Minneapolis to help the nonprofit get their building back in shape.
The effort was a part of the IAM Midwest Territory’s “IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community” program. IAM H.E.L.P.S. stands for Honoring, Engaging, Lifting, Providing and Servicing. The initiative is a part of the Territory’s continued efforts to provide essential support to residents in need.
District 77 members performed demolition work to the building’s interior, plumbing, gardening, helped repair a damaged fence and window awning, refaced and painted the building’s front sign, cleaned out the facility’s refrigerators and freezers, and stocked shelves.
CES has the largest Meals on Wheels program in Minneapolis. Meals are delivered mostly by volunteers to seniors and people with disabilities that may not be able to prepare their own.
“We moved about a half million pounds of groceries through this building last year,” said CES Operations Manager Mike Krachmer. “We served about 90,000 Meals on Wheels. It takes a lot of hands and a lot of people. We get a lot of volunteers here, but we don’t get a lot of skilled volunteers. So it’s great to have guys who can get out the tools and do the work. It’s long overdue.”
“IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community was put together as a program to bring all of our IAM forces together in a concentrated way,” said IAM Midwest Territory Grand Lodge Representative and Human Rights Coordinator Luther Williams. “We go into a community to provide a service. Those communities will know that the union was there to help them at no cost to the community.”
“It gives us a face other than in the work place,” said IAM District 77 Directing Business Representative John Steigauf. “Too often we don’t put a shirt on like this and get out in the community and do that sort of thing.”
“It’s a feel good project knowing you’re really helping out an organization that really needs the help and does such wonderful things for the community,” said IAM District 77 Secretary-Treasurer and event coordinator Ross Olson. “And then to see all your brothers and sisters just come in droves to help out. We had a big crew and got a lot done.”
“Congratulations to IAM District 77 members on another successful IAM H.E.L.P.S. in the Community event,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “IAM H.E.L.P.S. is dedicated to improving communities throughout the Midwest. Being able to give back to organizations that help strengthen others is the ultimate gift. Thank you to our Minnesota Machinists for all that you do.”