October 14, 2021

Local unions make their own harvest

Author: Liza Frenette
Source:  NYSUT Communications
Eldred Central School District Faculty Association
Caption: Eldred Central School District Faculty Association members (left to right) Marikate Oset, Bonnie Padua and Stephanie Zub, president. “Food collections such as this do shed a light on what the community needs,” said Zub. Photo provided.

A group of local unions in the mid-Hudson region are collecting cans and boxes of food to donate to local food pantries in a collective union effort across the Hudson Valley.

The group actions will support food pantries in Dutchess, Sullivan and Ulster counties. Local unions taking part include SUNY Ulster Faculty Association, Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers, Onteora Teachers Association, Eldred Central School District Faculty Association and Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers Association.

“Food collections such as this do shed a light on what the community needs,” said Stephanie Zub, president of the Eldred CSDFA. “Sometimes people may feel embarrassed to ask for items from the school directly, but if food items are donated to local places such as food banks, they can pick items up in private.”

The 55-member local also supports a backpack program that provides food to needy students on a weekly basis. For the joint Hudson Valley effort, the local collected 13 boxes of food and donated them to two local food pantries.

“Schools are at the heart of their communities,” Zub said.

The Poughkeepsie PSTA is donating boxes of food to Dutchess Outreach. Members in each of the seven school buildings brought in grocery items. The outreach program provides food, emergency relief, and advocacy for those in need.

“It is important as our union to give back to our community and this is just one way we can do that,” said PPSTA President Kim Popken.

Nearby, teachers, school-related professionals and clerical workers in the Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers unions collected close to 1,000 cans and items of food. SPRs additionally donated money to the Rondout Valley Food Pantry.

“We’re very thankful to our NYSUT labor relations specialist Jeff Benton who came up with the idea: Our union CAN!” said Kim McEvoy, Rondout Valley FT treasurer, and NYSUT SRP Advisory Committee member.