Livingston & McLean County Labor
Bloomington & Normal Trades & Labor Assembly / Livingston & McLean Counties Building & Trades Council
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  • Children's Christmas Party for low-income families Dec 12
    Updated On: Dec 31, 2020
    toys and candy are packed on Dec 11, 2020 for the Children's Christmas Party for low-income families.

    Despite COVID, Bloomington local unions carried on a 38-year tradition by again hosting a Children’s Christmas Party for low-income families.

    Co-sponsored by the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington & Normal Trades & Labor Assembly, the party was usually at Bloomington High School.   There was an hour of games, arts and crafts and other activities, with the assistance of Illinois State University student athletes.  After singing Christmas songs Santa would come with each child leaving with a gift and candy bag.  Usually about 350-375 children participated.

    Because of COVID, the party was reimagined.  On December 12 it was held at the Midwest Food Bank in Normal as a drive-through event.  Families pre-registered in advance and boxes were prepared with appropriate toys and candy.  The Meijer’s store in Normal contributed $1,000 worth of toys to make up the difference with higher registration.  Painters District Council 30 also contributed toys.   Families selected a pick-up time during a three-hour window and drove through the Food Bank, where their gift box was loaded into their vehicle.  The Food Bank included a U.S. Department of Agriculture fresh food box including milk, vegetables, fruit and a meat protein.  Most generously, the Bloomington Pantagraph gave a $100 gift card to each participating family.

    Union volunteers came from Laborers Local 362, Painters District Council 30, AFSCME 699, Steelworkers 787, IBEW 197, American Federation of Teachers 6038, United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 99 and Stage Hands Local 193.

    Participation was more than double, with 856 children from 318 families served.  Midwest Region Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Regional Manager and LIUNA General Executive Board member John Penn said, “We’ve been doing this for 38 years.  We have not seen this level of response and need since our first year, during an economic recession.  Our local unions are proud that labor and management can work together in McLean County to build a better community.”

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