They make strides, they cut their hair, they make videos, they clean up highways and, of course, they sell baked goods. They also cough up cash to dress down. They help rebuild flood-ravaged areas. They give scholarships. They buy school supplies for their students and classrooms.
They are the hundreds of thousands of NYSUT members and retirees of all job titles and in every corner of the state who make a difference in their communities, both on and off the job. I wonder if we could try to calculate just how much NYSUT members and locals across the state give to various charities in one year? We know NYSUT members annually donate more than $1 million to the American Cancer Society through the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign, but what about the many other efforts all year long? More importantly, what about the time they donate to the many worthy causes?
It’s a natural to turn to the United Way, because it focuses on education and health care efforts to improve the quality of lives. NYSUT joins its locals and members across the state who strongly support the United Way. The United Way is compiling for me a total statewide figure, but I can tell you that just the officers and staffers at NYSUT contributed more than $75,000 to United Way of the Greater Capital Region this year.
Through those donations, the United Way has been able to ramp up its summer feeding program to help kids who are unable to access free or reduced price lunches through their schools and to benefit other needy members in our community.
But how to staff such an undertaking? I’m one of 15 NYSUT staffers volunteering next week in Clifton Park in Saratoga County, just north of Albany. We’ll be helping to set up, serve food and then clean up Monday through Friday.
Please send us your stories on how your local union has helped the United Way or other community efforts this summer. Comment below or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call (800) 342-9810, ext. 6283.
And thanks for all you do.