Longshore workers distribute Thanksgiving food to needy families

Like their counterparts in many areas of the Southland this holiday week, volunteers from the International Longshore and Warehouse workers union have been distributing Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need. KPCC's Brian Watt reports on Tuesday's event in Wilmington.

Brian Watt
November 26, 2008
Listen
Like their counterparts in many areas of the Southland this holiday week, volunteers from the International Longshore and Warehouse workers union have been distributing Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need. KPCC's Brian Watt reports on Tuesday's event in Wilmington.

Brian Watt: The line outside the union hall stretched for almost two city blocks. The longshore workers have provided baskets for 11 Thanksgivings. This is the first year Paulina Orellana has needed one.

Paulina Orellana: I never asked somebody for helping because before, very good for working, but right now – mmmmm.

Watt: The 46-year-old lives in Wilmington. She's worked 17 years as a nursing assistant. But in recent months, her employer has cut her work hours way back. So Orellana and her husband – who's also working less these days – have trouble paying their bills. They take cold showers now because their gas has been cut off.

Lisa Tonson: You can see a lot more people struggling.

Watt: Lisa Tonson is a crane operator on the docks who's helped organize her union's food basket distribution since the first year.

Tonson: A lot more people coming in kind of like, "Oh please, I need help. I need a basket. We're having hard times this year." And it's kind of like a wave effect, you know. The economy is so bad.

Watt: The union only has supplies for about 1,500 baskets, so it works with 60 outreach groups and shelters to locate the people who need them most.

blog comments powered by Disqus