Community Service

Spread the love

Community Service at our Local strives to promote service to our communities.  We, as a team, hope to prevent and alleviate human suffering.  Our goal is to mobilize the power of volunteering and the generosity of donors.

Debbie Inverno

Chair, Community Service Local 914

Lee Carpenter

Community Service Committee

Lee has been instrumental in the success of the Community Service Program for the Local. Assisting Community Service Chair Debbie Inverno in many events and campaigns, Lee is one main reason why Local 914 brings service to the Community!

Local 914 Community Service Committee Sets a Thanksgiving Feast for 15 Families

Fresh off the 68th District 141 Convention in Orlando, Florida, Debbie Inverno was energized and motivated. As a Shop Steward and Chair of the Community Service Committee at Local 914 in Newark, NJ, she had been collecting non-perishable food donations from members for a few months, but without a defined project in mind. The work that the Community Services Committee did at the Convention changed all that:

“What Cristina said made it all click,” said Debbie. “She told the committee: “It starts with one can…and you keep going.””

Local 914 Community Service Committee members Lee Carpenter, Victor Acosta, Chair Debbie Inverno (center, in black,) Hope House Residential Assistant Lisa Ginn (wearing a red shirt), Local 914 President Bill Gula and Hector Perez (far right).

The words of Cristina Odoardi, a District 141 Trustee who was advising the Community Services Committee at the Convention made a big difference to Debbie Inverno. Since she already had one can, Debbie figured all she needed was the impetus to take the next step, and it came to her in Cristina’s simple call: “Keep going.”

Soon after her return to New Jersey, Debbie found out about Hope House, an emergency shelter for women and children near Newark. Her son, a Port Authority Police Officer, was familiar with their work and Debbie was convinced that this was the perfect fit for the local’s community service work. She had found another incentive to keep going.

“It starts with one can…”

Debbie kept going non-stop for the next two weeks. After making an initial call for donations, she posted an update with a picture every day on the Local 914 Facebook wall. She shared the news in other social media outlets where she knew her co-workers at United Airlines in EWR go for news and updates. When the donations started pouring in, she picked up everything in person, collecting donations all over Newark Airport and even at co-workers’ homes. She enlisted the help of her neighbors, whom she called “honorary union members” after they contributed three turkeys to the food drive. She also accepted cash donations and made several trips to the grocery store to personally pick up items to complete a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. “Soup to nuts, there’s even nuts in there!,” Debbie said as she unloaded her car with the help of Local 914 Community Service Committee member Lee Carpenter. “Fifteen families who currently reside at Hope House will celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional meal thanks to our members’ generosity.”

Local 914 President Bill Gula helps carry groceries.

Local 914 President Bill Gula also lent a hand unloading over 30 bags of groceries and five turkeys at the shelter. He praised the work that was accomplished in a relatively short period of time: “Debbie’s successful effort is simply outstanding. She was the engine that got this project to this beautiful completion. We are grateful to all the members who contributed and for Debbie’s leadership and big heart. Happy Thanksgiving!”

According to Debbie Inverno, she’s just getting started. She wants to “adopt” Hope House to continue to support their work. This was welcome news to Lisa Ginn, Residential Assistant at Hope House who was grateful for the Thanksgiving donation and was thrilled to hear that the Machinists will be back to continue to support the center’s programs on behalf of homeless women and children. “Service to the community, this is what we do,” said Debbie. “And we have to keep going.”

Community Services Committee Chair Debbie Inverno received the Humanitarian Award and Local 914 was recognized with the Community Impact Business Award.

Award presented to Local 914 for their Community Service in Newark, NJ

In early November, the 12th Anniversary Committee of the Vashti School of Future Leaders, a mentorship program for teens in Newark, New Jersey presented United Local Lodge 914, District 141 of the Machinists Union with the Community Impact Business Award. Debbie Inverno, Chairperson of the local’s Community Services Committee was recognized with the Humanitarian Award.

In the past year, members of United Local Lodge 914, with Debbie Inverno’s leadership, have delivered food and supplies to needy people in over a half dozen locations throughout New Jersey. Debbie was inspired by Cristina Odoardi’s appeal at the 2018 District 141 Convention to start with “one can…and keep going.”

Beginning with the first organized trip to drop off food donations at Hope House, an emergency shelter for families located a few miles from Newark Liberty Airport, Debbie would ask administrators about their immediate needs and would target collections to their requests, ensuring that every item donated would be put to use.

Thank you notes received at Local 914 from children at the YMCA in Newark, NJ Debbie listened intently, and as she developed relationships with administrators of several non-profit organizations, she sought groups that served families in and around Newark. She wanted to prioritize the committee’s efforts to reach the communities where many members of the local live. While driving home one afternoon early last summer, Debbie went into the Newark YMCA and ask how Local 914 could help. Nicole Washington, Director of Youth Development, welcomed her and laid out an immediate need: The Newark YMCA houses 300 families, and many children could not enjoy the swimming pool because they did not own a bathing suit. Debbie went to work and after the next collection effort, the committee delivered bathing suits for everyone at the “Y” who needed one. Along with bathing suits, the committee collected arts and crafts supplies for the kids’ summer projects.

After several conversations and visits to drop off donations, Debbie learned about the Vashti School for Future Leaders, an after-school teen mentoring program that Nicole Washington runs with the support of the Newark YMCA. Impressed with the program’s mission, Debbie renewed her commitment to be a resource to Ms. Nicole, as she is known to the teens who take part in the program. The Vashti School’s mission “To develop model citizens and future leaders” is supported by the donations that members of Local 914 deliver every month to families who benefit from the program. The school’s announcement of the awards praised Debbie and Local 914 for being champions of “The advancement of youth and their empowerment through access to education including financial edification as a method of social change.”

Hand-made thank you card received by Local 914

District 141 Director of Community Services Cristina Odoardi joined the members of Local 914 at the awards ceremony. “Debbie Inverno and the members of Local 914 have set an example of what it means to ‘act locally.’ They work all year to address the needs they see in their community, and I am excited and proud to join them as they receive this well-deserved honor.”

“None of this would have happened without Cristina’s encouragement,” said Debbie. “All we do is facilitate our members’ donations so they get to where they are needed most.”

Lee Carpenter, Debbie’s steadfast committee partner, added: “We make donating easy for our members and they are confident that it will go to the right place. They trust us.”