Machinists join Home Team to fight against hunger

HometeamHarvest2014SEATTLE — Machinists Union District Lodge 751 is teaming once again with Northwest Harvest and KING-TV to fight hunger in western Washington.

The union is collecting non-perishable food items at all Puget Sound union halls as part of KING-TV’s annual Home Team Harvest food drive. Donations will be taken through Dec. 4.

In addition, as many as 150 IAM 751 volunteers will take part in the Home Team Harvest food drive on Dec. 5, taking donations of food and cash and helping to load semi-trailers with donated food at sites around Puget Sound.

Last year, more than 120 union volunteers took part, bringing with them more than 500 pounds of donated food and checks totaling $3,100 from District 751 and its affiliated local lodges, and from the Washington Machinists Council.

This will be the 14th consecutive year for IAM 751 volunteers to take part in the Home Team Harvest food drive. Organizers said the Machinists Union is a major part of the event’s success each year.

“We are in awe of your commitment to the fight against hunger,” said Jennifer Chew, the volunteer program manager at Northwest Harvest. “That’s one grocery bag and one handful of change at a time, and if you had decided to stay warm in your bed, and hadn’t come out to help us, families in Washington state would not have these meals. It’s that simple.”

The need this year is as great as ever: A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture this fall determined that 13.7 percent of Washington state families – roughly 1-in-7 – struggle to put food on the table, while 5.5 percent regularly go to bed hungry.

That means more than 371,000 Washington state families aren’t getting enough to eat.

Most of them are working people. A 2014 study by OxFam America found that 54 percent of the people nationwide who regularly use food banks live in families where at least one person is working.

“There are a lot of working people – even in the aerospace industry – who work in non-union jobs that have low pay or irregular hours,” said Rob Curran, the chairman of the Machinists Volunteer Program at District 751. “Because of that, they rely on food banks to feed their families. We’re here to help them, and everyone else. Nobody should go hungry in America.”

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