If you have a desire to help others in the community you live, the community services committee is for you. Our committee is very community minded and has always been an active part of our union. The community services committee has organized Christmas Dinners, helped to build bethlehem affordable housing, Pelham medical clinic, visited children in hospital, seniors in retirement homes, helped raise funds for a variety of community groups. The committee members attend the Merritton labour day parade and help out at the union hall at the after party. We rely on volunteers getting involved so we can make a difference in peoples lives.
The committee works with volunteers from the workplace, students and people within the community who simply want to do something positive. Being involved sounds like a big commitment but even if you only have a few hours per week to spare we want to talk to you. High school students who volunteer with us do so through their schools to qualify for community hours through the co-op program. . We provide these young volunteers with an opportunity to build the community and give them a letter from the Local union outlining the work that they did and the number of hours they volunteered. These students gain a greater understanding of how their individual actions affect the wellbeing of the public, resulting in a more solidified view of self and purpose.
For More information about this committee contact the Executive Board Liaison, Mike Winterbottom. Cell: 905-327-1749
Current Community Involvement
The members of the Unifor 199 Standing Committee for Community Services have chosen four recipients for this years Charitable Donations.
They are, Community Care of St. Catharines & Thorold; Victim Services ofNiagara; Hospice Niagara and; Gillian’s Place. The intent is to assist those
Families less fortunate than us with necessities and gifts at this time of year!
As a committee we would like to offer our Best Wishes for a Happy, Safe, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!!!
Angelo Marano, Norm Roy, Lindsay Gilliss and Lorie Peacock.
VICTIM SERVICES – NIAGARA
Victim Services Niagara was formed in response to the growing need of assistance for victims of crime. Originally, it was a pilot project from the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and grew to what it is known today. They serve all of the Niagara Region and have almost a hundred fully trained volunteer crisis responders. Calls range from human trafficking to homocide to domestic violence. Tarryn Anderson is the current director of the program.
Since VSN deals with all of Niagara and the Conservative party of Ontario has slashed funding for them, it is a critical need for VSN to ask for donations and do fundraising to supply volunteers, resources and staff. This is why Unifor Local 199 has decided to help out with some much needed items for their clients who suffered from violent crimes.
Anyone can be a victim of crime and it is the staff and dedicated volunteers who make a difference in someone’s life that was turned upside down. That is what makes VSN so unique and essential.
Submitted by Lindsay Gilliss
A small number of staff and volunteers opened Niagara’s first safe haven for abused women and children at 9 Salina Street, St. Catharines and began to provide emergency shelter, food and counselling. On the very first day, women and children fleeing violence and abuse filled the 8-bed shelter.
It soon became apparent the Salina Street facilities were insufficient to meet demand, and so, Women’s Place built a new shelter in downtown St. Catharines. The three floor, 24-bed facility operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Our shelter space again was not sufficient for the demand we were experiencing. We needed to expand. Our community and government partners responded strongly to our needs.
A building committee was created when the former Victoria School on Niagara Street was acquired. Through the generous support of our community, the federal and provincial governments, the vision of converting the school into a safe haven became reality. Women’s Place St. Catharines and North Niagara celebrated the official grand opening at the new location on Gibson Place. Our new name is in honour of the former Executive Director Gillian Dooley, who led our organization from 1980 to 2007. Gillian was instrumental in fighting the cycle of violence against women, the effect of her work not only in the community but known nationally.
Gillian’s Place has proudly helped over 50,000 people find access to essential support services, safe shelter and transitional housing.
COMMUNITY CARE – St. Catharines and Thorold
Thank you, Angelo and members, for once again participating in our Adopt A Family Christmas Program. Be assured that “your” sponsored family will be overjoyed by your “gifts”. Together we can make the holidays happier for those in our community who are struggling.
Best wishes for good health and merry moments to all.
We help people live well, no matter what life presents. Hospice palliative care aims to relieve suffering, provide comfort and improve quality of life for people living with a terminal illness as well as their caregivers, family and friends. We provide care, compassion and dignity throughout a person’s illness and at end of life. We also support people in grief, after a death. No one needs to do this alone. Hospice Niagara is here to help.
As illness progresses, people spend increasing amounts of time in bed, making it one of the most important pieces of equipment in our residence. More than furniture, a bed provides warmth, comfort and dignity in the last days and weeks of life.
Hospice Niagara is in the process of replacing the original beds with new, modern ones that help to prevent pressure injuries common with prolonged bedrest at end of life. The committee made a donation to assist in getting replacement beds to make the life of the occupants more comfortable.
Submitted by Norm Roy
The Community Services committee works on a variety of events in and around the Local. They organize the annual Labour Day parade events and bbq, Out of the Cold programs and collections for Community Care. They visit retirement homes, hospital wards for sick children and visit schools for special needs children. In the past they have been involved with the Bethlehem Housing Project, Children’s Christmas Party and various other charitable events.
If you would like to get involved in any of these events please contact the Community Services Committee. Scott Martini Committee chair 905-932-0136 or Mike Winterbottom 905-327-1749
Our History in the Community
The mandate of the community services committee is to work with and liaise with other community groups, to build community spirit and help those in need. With this in mind the Community Services Committee has participated in quite a few interesting and fun events. Over the years we have been involved in a wide variety of events.
Downtown Cook Off
We made chili for the St Catharines Downtown Associations Chili Cook off. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for Community Care and the out of the cold program, and have some fun in the process. We joined forces with the Education Committee to make our special unique secret brew, and compete against other organizations and restaurants for bragging rights. Team “Local Flavor” created a chili recipe that is so secret we don’t even know what goes in it! However, we can tell you that the biggest reason for our success is the use of local ingredients with flavors that dance upon ones pallet. Local beef, sausage, peppers tomatoes all go into our chili, our unique flavor is punctuated with Niagara apples, beer and maple syrup. We believe as consumers we need to ask for more local produce to be available in our grocery stores and where possible we should support local producers. For 3 years in a row our chili created quite a buzz receiving first and second place people choice awards. When we sold the union hall and lost the kitchen we had to withdraw from participating in this event. . Images from Market Square
For a decade we encouraged our members to enjoy the silky smooth sounds of top International and Local Blues musicians at the yearly Bluesaganza Event this event has raised thousands of dollars for Autism Niagara.
The retirees of local 199 held a Retirees Appreciation in which we show our appreciation for and thank our retirees for the hard won gains of the past. Dinner was served in the banquet hall. It was always an honor to be part of this celebration. We have over 5,000 retirees, many of whom take part in activities that support both retired and active workers throughout the year. If you are interested in reading about some of our retirees we would recommend visiting the history tab on our website.
Niagara Falls Marathon
The Niagara Falls International Marathon is the only marathon in the world that starts in one country and finishes in another. The first 6.5km of the race starts in Buffalo N.Y. and travels the parkways of Buffalo before crossing the Peace Bridge into the town of Fort Erie, Ontario. The route then follows the Niagara River Parkway and finishes at Niagara Falls. This flat and fast course has hosted two USA men’s Olympic marathon trials in 1980 and 1984, along with the World Veteran’s Games marathon in 1995. The Community Services Committee volunteered to man water Station #21. Our task was to hydrate and encourage the participants as they went through our water station. This started off slow with small groups of runners passing through. We were organized, we had lots of volunteers, our tables were stocked with cups filled with water, we could easily handle the task at hand. This quickly changed, one minute we were laughing and joking around and suddenly the horizon was a sea of runners and for the next hour or so they came by the hundreds, a mass of runners, as quick as we handed out the drinks and filled more cups they were grabbed by the runners. It was bedlam and chaos all at one time, our twenty or so volunteers could barely keep up. As quickly as it begun the runners slowed to a trickle, our tables were almost empty, paper cups covered the ground like autumn leaves as far as the eye could see. We cleaned up the cups filled the tables and prepared for round two the main event the marathon. We were all impressed at the amount of runners who after running 21 miles still took the time tosay thank you for the water and many even thanked us for volunteering! One of the special moments of the race occurred when one of the leading marathon runners failed three times to snatch a drink as he quickly ran through our water station. One of our volunteers Nathan heard the runner exclaim I really wanted that. Nathan responded by grabbing another cup of water and sprinted after the runner. As we all watched in amazement Nathan caught up with the runner and handed him the water. . Images from Mile Marker 21
Christmas Community Dinner
For thirteen consecutive years local 199 organized a Christmas Community Dinner, volunteers prepared and served hundreds of free Turkey dinners to the community. The sad part of this is there are so many families in need in our community. The most gratifying part was that we had so many volunteers willing to lend a helping hand and that we can bring some Christmas Cheer into our community. Many of these volunteers are of high school age. It as very gratifying to meet the young folks of our community, and they in return are rewarded with community hours for school and the knowledge they helped to bring some Christmas spirit into the community. Images from Christmas Dinner
A Christmas Mission
They came wearing smiles – and ready to work, Their duties they were not willing to shirk.
The turkey was stuffed – by Ben and his crew, A bird fully dressed for the hungry to chew.
The smell of cooked turkey began to unfold, as our guests arrived from out of the cold.
The tables were set by volunteers galore. For people they knew, would come through our door.
Instruments all tuned, the band ready to sing, to listen was – “Oh such a beautiful thing”
Dinners were eaten – plates were refilled, none went home hungry – our mission fulfilled.
Postings re Community Involvement
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