The ongoing strike between WFP and USW Local-1937 has taken a toll on striking workers. As Christmas approaches, the community has come together to support striking workers with Christmas gifts.
Brittni Paquette, of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, (ILWU) Local 508 organized a toy drive to help families impacted by the strike.
“These guys are heading in to their sixth month. My husband is one of the striking members. I’m part of such a great union and organization at ILWU that I wanted to use our local to get out and find a cause to support the community,” Paquette said.
ILWU 508 gave Paquette some funding to hold the toy drive. The drive was held at Ladysmith’s Aggie Hall on Sunday, December 8. Santa Clause and the Grinch stood outside Aggie Hall advertising the drive. Inside, volunteers sorted donations and country singer Bryce Allen performed original songs.
The Town of Ladysmith donated the Aggie Hall space for the toy drive. Sponsors included 49th Parallel, Country Grocer, Artistical You, Michaels, Kal-Tire, Fuller Lake Skating Club, Attig Homes, LAFF, Long and McQuade, and the Ironworks Cafe and Creperie.
Cash donations are still coming in, but as of December 9, the drive raised over $2,500 in cash, and over $1,000 in gift cards. Paquette said they are covering from Cowichan Bay to Port Alberni, and will extend support to families in northern Vancouver Island communities as well if there are any donations remaining.
“As a young worker, I’m hoping to inspire young workers to get involved and see how the community and unions can come together to support each other. Especially in hard times like this,” Paquette said.
Paquette said that ILWU Local 508 is looking to make the toy drive an annual event to support different community groups in future years.