Our Story - Your Story - Their Story
Operation Christmas Cheer started back in December of 2004. The president of CEP 102-0 Pembroke, made a heartfelt plea to the ODLC asking for support for her 15 members who were walking the picket lines at Christmas.
I felt compelled to get involved. I started collecting cans and packages of food so my family and I could deliver Christmas Hampers to these families in time for Christmas dinner. Even though I was able to get my company (AIL Canada) to donate the 15 turkeys something was still missing...TOYS! I asked for help from you, my friends, my Brothers and Sisters throughout Ontario.
The response from labour was overwhelming and through word of mouth, we collectively raised over $2,900 a couple weeks before Christmas. OCC was able to ensure that every child received a gift Christmas morning plus, we were able to deliver $100 grocery gift cards to Brothers and Sisters of CEP 324 Dryden who had been out on the picket line for close to a year!
I thought that Operation Christmas Cheer was a one time event but I was wrong. November 2005, 3 United Steelworkers locals were on strike in small community of Hawkesbury. Over 400 Brothers and Sisters had been fighting for their rights since July and they were all struggling to survive during the Holiday season.
Operation Christmas Cheer started up again even though I was unsure I would be able to collect enough food and grocery gift cards to help every member. My family and I decided to do what we could to make a difference so we pledged our support
to USW 8580 and the 80 members walking the picket lines.
Long Story short, you helped to raise $17,200 in less than 5 weeks! Operation Christmas Cheer not only made a difference for all members of USW 8580 but also for 15 members of CEP 31X in Espanola on strike who had been walking the picket line since September. All remaining pledges/contributions collected were used to purchase grocery gift cards for United Steelworkers 7940 & 8794 in Hawkesbury who had a prioritized list of union families most in need.
The rest of the story can be found through the pages of this website. What started as a small effort to help union families in need, has grown into a province wide initiative supported by over 140 union locals, committees, labour councils and individuals!