Teamsters Joint Council 7 teamed up with Central Valley food workers and activists on the Central Coast to donate 960 pounds of supplies for the unaccompanied migrant children who are currently living near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Forty-seven boxes of blankets, toys, books, hygienic products and clothing were collected beginning in August and driven by YRC Freight Teamsters to Catholic Community Services in Arizona.
“As Teamsters and as working Californians, we believe it’s our humanitarian responsibility to help people, especially children, who flee to the United States in order to escape the extreme poverty and violence in their home countries,” said Rome Aloise, President of Joint Council 7. “We’re proud of our members and allies who stepped up and showed their compassion and generosity for children caught in the refugee crisis on the border.”
Joint Council 7 partnered with Working Partnerships USA to launch the donation drive last month. Other organizations that contributed include Immigration Action Group Refugee Aid Committee, the People’s Democratic Club, Pajaro Valley Cesar Chavez Democratic Club, Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantez, Salvador Santa Cruz, Star of the Sea Church, Live Oak Family Resource Center, Resurrection Church, First Christian Church, Assumption Church, Lutheran Community Church, Resurrection Church, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the If/When Foundation.
YRC Teamster and member of Local 439 Jim Violette and Local 439 President Armando Alonzo transported the donated supplies to Arizona, where the need is greatest.
“I’m proud to work to help children on the border. As Teamsters and as human beings, we need to help those in need, regardless of where they come from,” said Alonzo.
More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been found crossing the border into the U.S. in recent months, filling detention centers and overwhelming border agencies. The children, who face severe violence and economic hardship in their Central American home countries, have been forced to make the dangerous journey across the border.
Joint Council 7 turned out in force at the Teamsters Women’s Conference held in Chicago in September. Seen here with IBT General President James P. Hoffa and Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, the group spent three days getting motivated by Teamster activists and leaders about successful and innovative campaigns, hearing from members of Congress and local politicians, and going to workshops to learn important skills.