Local 2101 helps feed 30,000 children
What started as a way to engage with fellow MAPE Local 2101 members turned into a community outreach event to pack 30,000 meals for hungry people in third world countries.
This was one of the largest volunteer events organized by Local 2101 at the Dept. of Human Services.
“We wanted to host a volunteer event that got us out in the community visible as MAPE employees so people in the public better understand who we are and to gain public support for public employees and unions,” said Andrea Falk, Local 2101 leader who started the volunteer committee with fellow member Kate Kunitz.
Leaders sent a survey to 2101 members gauging interest in various volunteer opportunities. Turns out the response was so great and board, that just about any kind of volunteer opportunity would have fit the desires of the members willing to get involved.
Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) could accommodate a large group, so the committee announced a Saturday morning volunteer opportunity at the local meal-packing facility and immediately all 20 volunteer slots were filled, and a waiting list was started.
“We were excited by how quickly people signed up for the spots we’d reserved, and then even more so when such a big group actually came, early on a Saturday morning in poor weather,” Kunitz said. “FMSC was short-handed since volunteers were not coming due to the weather and road conditions, so it was really wonderful of everyone to make the extra effort to be there.”
Barb Vaughan was one of the lucky members to nab one of the volunteer slots that day. She said, “I am always impressed with how much of a difference a couple of hours of volunteers’ time can make. It makes me want to go back every week.”
FMSC is known for creating a fun and fast-past environment for volunteers.
“There’s music and shouts of encouragement; everyone has their important role completing their task for the group, and the time flies by,” Kunitz said. “Seeing people outside of the work setting, doing something physical and having a united purpose for a good cause was awesome.”
Local 2101 President Liz Pearson said the crew of volunteers assembled 140 boxes containing 30,240 meals, which will feed 83 kids for a year. The meals were sent to Sierra Leon.
The volunteer committee was created in hopes of uniting members around causes they care about and hopes to expand to include other locals in future volunteer opportunities.
“Not everyone is interested in contract negotiation or politics, so this is another way to get to know your fellow MAPE members and be involved in making the community better and stronger,” Kunitz said.