Home Town Pride: Lodge 811 Continues A Long-Standing Commitment to Community Service with Annual Toy Drive for Pediatric Cancer Patients

Commitment To the Community: Local 811 Toy Drive for Pediatric Cancer Patients

Local Lodge 811’s Women’s Committee recently dropped off a large donation of toys from their latest toy collection project for Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas.

In previous years the local donated any type of toy to all children at the hospital, but this time, the committee chose to collect specific toys for bed-ridden pediatric cancer patients: puzzles, word games, books, and hand-held electronics.

Local 811 Secretary Treasurer Sarah Monderoy Garcia has been on the Women’s Committee since 2013. She, Lodge 811 Vice President Nelson Yanes, Trustee Adrienne Coleman, Charlotte Lazard, and Evelita Everitt make up 811’s Women’s Committee, which is continually collecting donations for different organizations.

“We’re always doing some type of drive, whether it’s toiletries, clothing, or toys. We like to target different areas of need in the community,” said Garcia.

The committee encouraged members to bring donations to union meetings and advertised with flyers on the break-room bulletin boards at George Bush Intercontinental Houston Airport (IAH) where Local 811 members work for United Airlines as ramp service employees, ground crew, and stores material specialists (members who work side-by-side with mechanics to provide parts for planes).

The committee strategically decides to host their toy drives in the summer time, the “off-season,” because hospitals typically receive an abundance of toy donations over the holidays but are running low and have new patients come summer.

Richard Johnsen, General Vice President of the Machinists’ newly formed Air Transport Territory, expressed optimism that the Machinists and the ALU could forge a strong alliance. “We are more than just unions,” said Johnsen. “We’re also part of a movement. People are tired of sitting on the sidelines. They want to act, they want to make changes. That’s why this campaign at JetBlue is so exciting; it’s a vital part of a larger movement to prove that working people deserve just as much respect as managers and executives.”

Johnsen also pledged to work closely with the ALU, including hammering out a potential agreement to open the renowned Winpisinger Education Center to ALU members. “The Winpisinger Center is the largest labor school in North America,” he said. “It has an expert teaching staff that holds classes on things that matter to unions. Things like contract negotiations, leadership training, arbitration, organizing and more. It’ll be a great asset to JetBlue Crewmembers once they come on board, and I hope that ALU members will look into the opportunity to find out more about the Winpisinger Center.”

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