Providing Relief In Times Of Need
The Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund is a charitable 501(c)3 developed in 1991 to assist Teamster members who have suffered a loss from a disaster. The fund receives donations from local unions and their affiliates. Through this fund the Teamsters provide needed relief and outreach to members and their communities in their hour of need.
“Teamsters are known for the ability to help those less fortunate,” said Antonio Christian, Secretary of the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund. “When disasters strike, whether they are tornadoes, hurricanes or other calamities, we come together to help one another. I believe our union is, at its heart, a family.”
When tragedies strike, many Teamster groups and individuals often make donations. In order for the fund to be used in a timely basis, though, the need to build the fund is ongoing.
Support From the Union
One of the disasters that required direct assistance from the fund was Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Members across the United States and Canada were actively involved in relief efforts to assist members in New Orleans, Biloxi and the Gulfport regions of Mississippi. Thousands of dollars were contributed for disaster relief from Joint Councils and local unions, in addition to locals sending supplies and volunteers to the disaster-hit areas.
Local 25 in Boston sent supplies and a law enforcement vehicle to New Orleans and Locals 299 and 337 from Detroit worked together to send nine trucks of vehicles filled with water and supplies.
Teamsters Canada arranged for truckloads of supplies to be sent to New Orleans and Biloxi while California locals joined the effort in sending supplies and volunteers. When tornados hit Oklahoma, leveling miles of homes in 2013, Teamsters again rolled up their sleeves to donate money, time and supplies to help displaced families.
Ed Hall, a YRC retiree with Local 886 in Oklahoma, volunteered to haul Red Cross supplies to families for 36 hours despite losing half his home’s roof in the disaster.
“I thought it was the right thing to do,” Hall said. “I wanted to give back any way I could.”
The Need is Always Present
“Our Disaster Relief office at Teamster headquarters is committed to alerting local unions when a disaster has struck, but in order to be best prepared, we need to have a strong Disaster Relief Fund,” Christian said. “I ask that all local unions and Joint Councils consider a yearly donation to the fund so that we can be ready when the need arises. In times of great need after a major disaster, we will reach out to request additional funding. However, building the Disaster Relief Fund must remain a top priority so that we can continue providing assistance to Teamster families in need.”
For more information, visit teamstersdisasterrelieffund.org.