By Mike Gutwig
Labor’s Community Service Agency has launched a COVID Safety-Net Spring Fundraiser through May 31.
LCSA has been at the front lines serving union families statewide through the devastating impacts of both the 2020 wildfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
But their work is not done.
LCSA’s small staff of three has been triaging working families and providing financial aid, unemployment claim assistance, medical emergency assistance, community resource guidance, offering a helping hand to get union members through difficult times.
“And the numbers and the need have only increased,” said LCSA Executive Director Eryn Byram.
LCSA is asking unions to make a treasury donation so that it can maintain its safety net programs and services until all union families are whole again. Individuals also can donate to the a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible. LCSA is a partner of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.
“We can not continue without your support,” Byram said.
Meanwhile, Rodrigo Juarez-Castellanos has been hired as a program assistant. A Portland native, he holds a degree in marketing from Portland State University. He speaks fluent Spanish and will help the agency with outreach in the Latinx community.
“I have been in the work force since the age of 16 and see the need to continue pushing for workers rights,” he said. “I am very excited to become a part of Labor’s Community Services Agency and be able to bridge a gap for the workers in need.”
The Helping Hands program lead is Jackie Whitt, who has been with the agency for two years. An enrolled Cherokee citizen and tradeswoman who got her start at IBEW Local 48, she said as a young apprentice the union instilled values of solidarity within her and the practice of looking out for brothers and sisters who were facing difficulties and adversity.
Go to lcsaportland.org/donate or send a check to Labor’s Community Service Agency, 9955 SE Washington St., Suite 301, Portland, OR 97216.