The weather was chilly, but spirits were warm Dec. 10, as members of AFSCME Local 1303-26, representing Southington public works employees, held their first-ever holiday food drive in front of the old Southington Drive-In on Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike.
Union members collected enough food to fill three pickup trucks and raised an additional $3,200, all of which was donated to the Southington Community Services Department’s food pantry.
“We wanted to do something positive for our community. This has been a tough year for everyone, between the economy and the storms,” said union president and park foreman Steve Pompei.
“The food drive is our way of giving back during the holiday season. We’re going to make this an annual event,” added Local 1303-26 Vice President Ralph Nocera, an operator at the Water Pollution Control plant.
Pompei said the food drive provided workers an opportunity to boost morale and remind the public that union members are part of the community, too.
“Union workers are blamed for everything that goes wrong. We’ve been vilified in the media. We’re not responsible for the economic travesty. We’re just Middle America. We’re human beings.”
The AFSCME Local 1303-26 bargaining unit represents Southington public works, water pollution control, highway and parks employees.