Local 249 celebrates the spirit of giving

By Erica Eckart

On Saturday November 5, State Sen. Barbara Washington hosted her annual Thanksgiving community food drive. The food drive takes place at the Swope health center in Kansas City. As usual the drive was a huge success with volunteers coming from all over the metro to help make this event a success including our very own members from Local 249.

“Our members never miss this event,” said Shirley Mata, regional CAP liaison and proud member of Local 249. “This is the epitome of what Local 249 is all about. We love giving back to our community in any way we can, and we never miss an opportunity to partner up with like-minded individuals like Senator Barbara Anne Washington who has devoted herself to helping those in need throughout our community.”

Senator Washington has developed a widespread connection to volunteers, donors and recipients in response to recognizing the needs of our community and her constituents.

“We’ve always had a food insecurity problem in Kansas City,” says Sen. Washington. “COVID only lifted the veil to alert more people to the needs in our community. I’ve done canned goods drives for a decade, but the first Saturday food essentials is my way to help more people with more food and more essentials.”

“Without the volunteers from UAW Local 249 and all the unions here, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do,’’ says Washington. “Union workers are known for improving lives so partnering up with them is not only logical, but necessary.”

“Members of Local 249 met on a rainy, snowy cold morning to help one of our own, Senator Barbara Washington, give back to our community,’’ said Jay Bosler, CAP chair and Sergeant at Arms for Local 249. “Twice a year, once at Easter and once at Thanksgiving, she and her organization help out the community with 500-600 households receiving goods like laundry supplies, blankets, diapers, cleaning supplies, coats and food consisting of turkey, ham, potatoes, fruit, milk, juice, eggs and cheese,” said Bosler.

“Local 249 came out huge this year with about 25 members from our standing committees, like CAP, Member to Member, Community Service, Veterans, Women’s, Motorcycle, Education, Union Label and Consumer Affairs committees, all had volunteers show up and help,” Bosler said. “I say it all the time, but it is more and more true, the reason we do the things we do is NOT for the pats on the back but because it’s the right thing to do.”

Local 249 members arrived at 7:30 am. The line started at 9:00 am and ended around noon.

As volunteers were helping to clean up, Senator Washington provided Lunch from Chick Fil A to all the remaining volunteers. We would like to thank Senator Washington for her dedication to improving our community, as well as all the volunteers who came out to support these efforts.

Special thanks to Local 249 and all the standing committees for volunteering and keeping the vision of family and community unity alive, we couldn’t do this without you.