Yet Another Example Of Unions ‘Giving Back:’ The Buffalo AFL-CIO Labor Council ‘Teams Up’ With Senator Tim Kennedy For A New Blanket & Socks Drive For Western New York’s Youngest Patients At Women & Children's Hospital
(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) – In what’s just another example in the never-ending generosity of the Labor Movement and its Members, the Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council is teaming up with New York State Senator Tim Kennedy for a new blanket and socks drive for Western New York’s youngest patients at Women & Children’s Hospital.
“Labor has ‘a lot to offer’ our community – more than just our ‘sweat,’” Buffalo AFL-CIO President John Mudie, who also serves as Executive Vice President of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1122, tells WNYLaborToday.com.
“It’s ‘very important and exciting to be part of this,’ just like it is for Labor to be involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Friends of the Night People (local food pantry that serves the poor and the homeless) and so many others. It’s ‘up to Labor to get involved and carry these efforts forward,’” Mudie told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper.
Mudie also took time to credit International Union of Painters & Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 4 Representative William Mayer for bringing the donation drive to his and the Buffalo Council’s attention, as well as Mayer’s hard work for helping spread the message across the Western New York Labor Movement through his efforts on Social Media.
Those in Organized Labor wishing to make a donation are being asked to drop off new blankets and socks to CWA Local 1122’s Union Hall, which is located at 3775 Genesee Street in Suburban Cheektowaga, through January 1st.
In addition, the Council is asking its Affiliated Member Unions, Labor Leaders and Delegates who are planning to attend the Council’s December 13th monthly meeting and Christmas get-together to bring along their donations, where they will be collected.
However, it’s important to note, Labor Representatives said, that the patients who will be receiving the donations have sensitive immune systems. Therefore, only brand new blankets and socks will be accepted, they said. If one suspects anything has been used, they are being asked to not mix it in to the donations – and to ensure they do not get dirty or dusty, they are being asked to use a clear plastic bag for their donations, they added.
Kennedy, meanwhile, told WNYLaborToday.com that Labor “reached out” to his office after his staff had held a formal media event in early November.
“John Mudie told me he wanted to make this a ‘major effort’ on the part of Organized Labor, which has the ‘power,’ the ‘network’ and the ‘heart’ to make this an even ‘bigger’ success. Labor is ‘always thinking about helping other people,’ so this was a ‘perfect fit,’” he said.
Doctors, Nurses and parents say it's common for young patients to become anxious over the "unknown" and the unfamiliar atmosphere that a trip to the hospital can bring, Kennedy said. Yet, even the smallest and simplest item can remind kids of home and help to calm the nerves, he added.
So in order to make their stays to make stays more comfortable and soothing, calming items such as warm blankets and socks are not a reimbursable expense, and therefore they hospital relies entirely on the generosity of the community to provide this small comfort to children in their care, the senator said. And due to the high volume of young patients these facilities see every day, keeping the supply of blankets stocked is often difficult.
“This will provide those staying at the hospital with ‘a little bit of home.’ It’s ‘very heartwarming,’” Kennedy told WNYLaborToday.com. “I was told a story of woman whose son was in the hospital for over a month and they brought in a blanket from home that he went to sleep with. It was from a family member and it ‘stuck’ with him. That’s ‘one of the benefits’ – it’s a ‘small token of love’ and a ‘reminder of home’ whey you’re tucked in at night with a ‘soft, warm blanket.’”
So far, Kennedy said the feedback he and his staff are receiving has been “extraordinary.”
“Our goal is to get (3,000 to 5,000) blankets. That will cover every patient and in-patient at the hospital for a year. And just last week we had a local company donate (200) blankets,” he said.
WNYLaborToday.com Editor’s Note: Senator Kennedy is holding a Blankets and Brews event on Thursday (December 8th) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Buffalo’s Resurgence Brewery (located at1250 Niagara Street), where those who will be participating will be making no-sew fleece blankets. To learn more and to RSVP, contact Senator Kennedy’s Staff Representative Jessica LaFalce at 716-826-2683 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on-line on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/events/368426843495613/