A group of representatives from Local 3657’s Women of Steel (WOS) committee today handed out more than 200 “blessing bags” filled with toiletries to those in need.
The WOS committee coordinated the effort with the Red Door Program, a local charity affiliated with Saint Mary of Mercy Church in downtown Pittsburgh. The Red Door provides a bag lunch to more than 100 people each day, Monday through Saturday.
Many of the people who come for food also need help with personal care items, said Danielle Dindinger, a WOS member who helped distribute the blessing bags.
“The Red Door is just across the street from our office, and we see the people who come for meals every day,” said Dindinger. “We noticed a need, and we decided to help.”
The bags were filled with shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, wet wipes, and other toiletries.
The local, which represents USW staff at the International headquarters and in the field, had a bucket drop to raise money to buy supplies, and the WOS committee spent the past month assembling the bags.
Rachel Nunes, who chairs the local’s WOS committee, said that homelessness and its root cause, a lack of access to affordable housing, is a big concern for the group. They’ve done similar drives in the past and plan to continue the work in the future.
“We’re working to build a relationship with the Red Door and other organizations, so we can continue to support the work that they do,” said Nunes. “We need community connections based on trust and mutual respect. It’s all well and good to do one-off things, but what we really need to do is address the underlying issues.”