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UFT steps up for city communities

New York Teacher
Teachers collect food for charity
Bruce Cotler

Volunteers at the UFT’s Bronx borough office on Dec. 10 formed their monthly assembly line to package more than 600 individual boxes of food — enough to feed a family of four for two weeks — work they’ve been doing since the start of the pandemic. The food is delivered to those in greatest need in the city, including senior citizens and families in homeless shelters.

As the pandemic has put more and more stress on communities, the UFT and its members have stepped up to help soften the pain. The UFT United Community Schools network has fed more than 6,000 families through its work with Robin Hood, the Food Bank for New York City and other community-based organizations by helping to distribute food to those in need.

A group of teachers show off the food they've collected for chariy
Bruce Cotler

The International School for Liberal Arts, a UFT Community School, on Dec. 4 helped distribute 300 boxes of produce and 500 bags of dried and canned goods to 500 families in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. In partnership with the Food Bank for six years, the school packages and delivers food weekly to homeless families and families in transitional housing.

Volunteers at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, many of them UFT retirees, package food delivered in bulk by the Food Bank into individual boxes ready for distribution. And UFT members contributed nearly $30,000 when the pandemic forced the cancellation of the union’s traditional Thanksgiving luncheon for students in homeless shelters. The students had always been given new coats at the celebration. Instead, a record 800 coats will be delivered to shelters citywide in December.

“In the midst of this chaos,” said UFT Vice President Richard Mantell, “our members are going above and beyond for their students and families.”