Carpenters Join with CASA to Help Immigrant Communities with Food Deliveries During Coronavirus Pandemic
Upper Marlboro, Maryland — Union Carpenters Local 197, Eastern Atlantic States Council of Carpenters (EASCC), and other volunteers, recently helped to deliver 500 large boxes of food to Maryland residents in cooperation with CASA, a nonprofit that assists the immigrant community.
“Our carpenters are part of the community, and it was important to help our brothers and sisters,” said Mungu Sanchez, Deputy Political Director/Director of Community Organizing, EASCC. “We felt it was our obligation as good citizens in the communities where we work to support them in these trying times.”
CASA, the Spanish word for home, is one of the largest membership-based immigrant organizations in the United States. It serves the immigrant communities in parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia, and D. C. Local 197 serves the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia regions.
CASA gathered the names of families that needed help with food supplies through its own health hotline, community organizers and elected officials.
“We wanted to ensure we delivered the food as a ‘no contact’ effort; recipients and the person delivering the food adhered to social distancing, which kept everyone safer,” said Maritza Solano, CASA’s Education Director and temporary food czar.
“I would knock on the door and step away at least six feet,” Sanchez said. “I would give the residents the thumbs up and be on my way, but I could hear them either say or mouthing ‘thank you’ for the drop-off.”
While the Capitol City Food Bank donated much of the food, union volunteers focused on adding fresh fruit and vegetables to the food boxes, Sanchez said. “Sometimes, those are the most difficult food items to obtain,” he said.
From the staging delivery in Silver Spring, Maryland, union officials and members, including Local 197 Council Representatives Kuna Bedny and Francisco Esparza, and other volunteers, delivered the boxes, to about 500 families in various communities in one day.
“I think it’s really extraordinary what the union members do to help in their community,” Solano said. “Organizing is central to their efforts to help the community, and when someone sees a union construction site, they might recall the assistance that union members provided with activities like this food delivery.”
CASA describes itself as “a group of passionate, community-conscious people working to organize, advocate for, and expand opportunities for Latino and immigrant people in the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We do this by providing employment placement; workforce development and training; health education; citizenship and legal services; and financial, language, and literacy training to Latino and immigrant communities.”
For more information about Carpenters Local 197, visit https://www.197-carpenters.com.
For more information about CASA, visit https://wearecasa.org.