Unions come together to put on massive holiday party for families experiencing hard times

Labor unions from Oregon and Southwest Washington came together to host an amazing Presents from Partners holiday party Dec. 14 for families experiencing difficult times. Some 350 kids — from toddlers to teens—and 250 parents and/or caregivers enjoyed the festivities.

Labor’s Community Service Agency, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, members from 50 union locals, and 14 community allies, including United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, donated toys, cash, and volunteers for the event.

Each child took home three presents, plus a game, sports ball, books, and a stuffed animal. All the families ate a hot lunch donated by Spin Catering. For dessert there was cake made by members of Bakers Local 114. Radio Cab, where dispatchers are members of Teamsters Local 305, donated rides for families to and from the event. ILWU Local 8 members and their Portland Local 8 Federal Credit Union raised over $15,000. With that money they purchased 70 bicycles, books, and gifts for older teens. The bikes were assembled by members of Machinists Lodge 63’s Young Machinists group. Kids also got a Christmas stocking made by retirees of the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon.

There was face painting and coloring, and, of course, some face time with Santa Claus, played by Carpenter Marcus Rodriguez.

IBEW & United Workers Credit Union sponsored a room for kids to pick out and wrap a gift for their parents. The credit union also sponsored a clothing boutique filled with quality used clothes for parents to choose from. Gresham Fire Fighters brought out one of their fire trucks, then took time to say hello to Frozen’s Elsa and Olaf (played by the credit union’s Kristin Kreamier and retiree Rob Williamson).

Even some politicians stopped by, including Oregon House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner and State Treasurer Tobias Read.

“Today was about taking care of our union brothers, sisters, and siblings,” said LCSA Executive Director Eryn Byram. “When one of us is down, we stand up together. That’s what solidarity means. Thank you for donating, volunteering, and referring your members in their time of need. We are here for our union families, as we have been for the past 45 years.”

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