Union joins peanut butter drives to aid food banks

Members of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 will once again compete this year to see which group can help ease hunger for the most people

paul richard peanut butterDistrict 751 is taking part in two annual peanut butter drives sponsored by the central labor councils in Pierce and Snohomish counties.

The drives start this month, and will continue through May 5. Donations can be brought to any IAM 751 union hall in Puget Sound.

Peanut butter collected at the Auburn, Renton and Seattle union halls will go to the Pierce County Central Labor Council, which will pool all the peanut butter collected by unions in Pierce County and give it to the Emergency Food Network, which supplies 60 food banks in the greater Tacoma area.

Peanut butter collected at the Everett Union Hall will be contributed to the Snohomish County Labor Council’s fourth annual peanut butter drive, which benefits the Volunteers of America’s Everett Food Bank.

The group of Machinists who collect the most peanut butter will get “bragging rights, and the knowledge they are helping feed hungry children in their community this summer,” said Terri Myette, who represents District 751 on the Pierce County Central Labor Council.

This will be the seventh consecutive year that District 751 has taken part in peanut butter drives sponsored by the Pierce and Snohomish county labor councils. Over the years, IAM 751 members have donated more than 7,000 pounds of peanut butter – roughly 3.5 tons.

The need continues to be great, said Myette.

“Sadly, one out of every six people in Pierce County relies on food banks for at least some part of their family’s meals each week,” she said. “Most of these people have jobs, but they aren’t paid enough to support themselves or their families.”

Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein with a good shelf life, Myette said. It’s also something that most children like, which makes it especially important for food banks in summer time, when children from low-income families no longer get free or reduced-price lunches at school.

PeanutbutterLabelsOrganizers encourage union members to buy union-made peanut butter brands like Jif or Adams, and to buy it whenever possible from unionized grocery stores, including Albertson’s, Fred Meyer, Haggen’s, PCC, QFC, Safeway or Thriftway.

However, all donations will be accepted, said Myette. “Hungry children don’t pay attention to labels.”

“Our union is committed to making life better for low-income working people in our communities,” said Jason Redrup, an IAM-Boeing Joint Programs coordinator who is the president of the Snohomish County Labor Council. “Things like the peanut butter drive are something all of us can do to help meet the immediate needs of hungry families in all of our communities.”

Originally formed in 1935 by 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 53 employers across Washington and California.

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