Machinists join charity backpack project

EVERETT — Machinists of District Lodge 751 are teaming up with the Puget Sound Labor Agency and the Boeing Co. to provide books and backpacks that underprivileged Snohomish County children will need to succeed in the new school year.

Boeing and the Labor Agency are working together to collect supplies and money for the Boeing Books and Backpacks effort, and members of District 751’s Machinists Volunteer Program will work with other Snohomish County trade unionists over the next two weeks to assemble the back-to-school kits, which will include packs, books and other school supplies.

The goal is to provide more than 4,000 backpacks for students, which will be distributed throughout Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties by various community service agencies that provide assistance to families in need. The majority of backpacks typically go to children in the Everett School District.

However, donations are running far behind what’s needed to meet that goal, said Suzanne Moreau from the Labor Agency. The cash total is “half what we had last year, but the need is twice as big,” she said. “We are thousand and thousands of dollars short.”

To donate, Machinists working at Boeing can use this link to go online at TotalAccess to give to one of three agencies: Page Ahead, which provides books for students; WorldVision, which provides backpacks for needy students in King and Pierce counties; and the Labor Agency, which provides backpacks in the North Sound.

The work of assembling the packs will take place at the Volunteers of America warehouse at 2802 Broadway in Everett at the following times and dates:

  • Saturday, Aug. 14 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 15 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday, Aug. 16-20 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 22 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Monday through Friday, Aug. 23-27 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Interested volunteers should contact Moreau at the Puget Sound Labor Agency at either (206) 399-5511, (425) 252-1112 or smoreau@pslaonline.org.

Last year, 464 members of District 751 took part in 103 different community activities in 2009 – an average of two events every week. They gave a total of 3,721 volunteer hours to projects that ranged from food drives and bell ringing for the Salvation Army, to building 10 wheelchair ramps for home-bound people around Puget Sound.

In addition, the union raised nearly a quarter-million dollars for Guide Dogs of America.

In recognition of those efforts, the White House recently honored District 751’s MVPs as a group with a gold-level Presidential Service Award for 2009. Four individual Machinists also received bronze-level Presidential Service Awards for their personal efforts.

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