This summer, IBEW 1245’s Sacramento-area organizing stewards partnered with the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC) Solano Chapter for a pool party fundraiser to benefit both EWMC and the Mustard Seed School, which is a donation-based educational program for homeless youth in Sacramento. The event, hosted by Staff Organizer and EWMC Solano Chapter Vice President Rene Cruz Martinez, raised a total of $1500, which was divided between EWMC and the school. The fundraiser allowed the organizing stewards to donate 20 backpacks and six full bags of school supplies to the needy students at Mustard Seed (pictured below).
“When I volunteered my home to host this summer’s fundraiser, I never imagined that it was going to go as far as contributing to a great cause,” said Martinez, crediting co-worker Tonya Alston, Local 1245’a office manager and EWMC chapter recorder, for coming up with the backpack drive idea. “The response rate from our members was over the top. Our most active members and organizing stewards took on leadership roles, planning and recruiting for this event. Members came from as far as Fresno, CA to attend. The event had a great turn-out and those members that could not attend sent over school supplies and or monetary donations.”
Mustard Seed is a unique K-8 program that aims to gently transition homeless youth into the public school system. The program has been in operation for 30 years, and is funded exclusively by community donations, many of the teachers and other staffers volunteer their time there as well. Since the program does not receive any government subsidies, it is able to provide more services compared a traditional publicly funded program — children are able to take showers and naps there if needed, and they have access to healthy meals, which can make an enormous difference in a child’s life.
“The organization provides more than education to their clients. They provide shelter, additional resources, and most importantly an escape to modern day struggles,” said Organizing Steward Alvin Dayoan. “It’s empowering to see staff who not only work during holidays but also volunteer their time to help out the homeless community. This organization should be well-funded and recognized for the hard work and sacrifice that they put in to help those who are in dire need of assistance.”
Local 1245 has a long-standing relationship with Loaves & Fishes, the nonprofit homeless shelter which runs the Mustard Seed School. Members have volunteered to prepare Thanksgiving meals at the facility for the past four years, and have also done charity fundraisers to support Mustard Seed in the past. When a group of organizing stewards went to drop off the donations, the staff showed them around the facility so they could see first-hand the impact that their donation would have on the children.
“Helping Mustard Seed today was a great experience!” said Organizing Steward Ozzy Guzman. “Taking a tour of the school and seeing how much the kids would benefit from the school supplies made such a huge difference. I am proud of IBEW 1245 & EWMC with this effort in helping provide youth with necessities to school life.”