Union labors to fight hunger in Washington

TACOMA – Hungry families in Western Washington will find it easier to put food on their tables this winter, thanks to the efforts of Machinists Union members.

More than 125 members of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 gave up a Saturday to help out during KING-TV’s recent Home Team Harvest food drive to benefit Northwest Harvest. The union members helped collect cash and load donated food into semi trailers at sites from Tacoma to Everett.

District 751’s local lodges and individual members also came together to donate $3,563 in cash, plus more than 500 pounds of food that was collected at union halls across Puget Sound.

And the food drive got further support from the Washington Machinists Council – the umbrella group for all Machinists Union districts and locals statewide – which contributed another $1,500 to the food drive.

“Our District 751 MVPs volunteer nearly every weekend, feeding the homeless at missions in Tacoma and Everett,” said Robley Evans, the chairman of the union’s Machinists Volunteer Program. “We’re seeing more and more people coming in – homeless families and veterans. Given that the need is so great, it’s more important than ever for groups like ours to get involved.”

This is the 10th year in a row that District 751 volunteers have taken part in KING-TV’s Home Team Harvest event.

“Truly, the Aerospace Machinists Union has become as much a part of Home Team Harvest as anyone else,” said Betsy Roberson, the community relations manager for the TV station. “You’re the ones out there directing traffic and carrying those big bags of food from trunks to trucks.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents nearly 31,000 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California.  In 2010, District 751 members gave nearly 6,200 hours of volunteer community service and raised more than $276,000 for Guide Dogs of America, the union’s charity of choice.

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