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Lansing Labor News
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June 22, 2024
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Capital Area United Way

September 2020

Social distancing, contact tracing, COVID 19, mask up, zoom calls & be safe are now part of our new normal lingo.  The virus has impacted our daily lives in untold and unimageable ways.  At times it still seems like an episode of the Twilight Zone.  If you are not sure of that show, then “google it”

This has been a challenge for many in our community both personally and professionally.  With our world upside down since earlier this spring, we can’t really determine which direction to turn in order to attempt to find our “new normal.”

At the Capital Area United way, we are for the most part been working remotely although we have made journeys into our office as for some it is easier to conduct our work.   On a personal note, I have stuck not just my toe but my whole foot into the water but with safety a priority.

CAUW has been actively promoting the census in a variety of ways.  The importance of the process will impact our communities for the next decade.  With it first extended then shortened by a month, it has made many folks scramble to conduct the values outreach to count our numbers.  Collaborations with community groups have been instrumental in seeing marked increases in the reporting numbers as compared to 2010. 

We have also been active with the USDA Farmers to Families program.  The program was designed to assist farmers find a market for their commodities as many of the normal marketplaces have dried up as restaurants and schools for example have a new model of existing.  In our area we are utilizing the produce box program.  The box of assorted fruits and vegetables equate to about twenty-five pounds and at a market rate of about $28.75. Quite a blessing for both the farmers and the families.  Would like to give a shout out to a few folks who have helped with this effort, past president of UAW Local 602, Bill Reed, Region 1-D Servicing Rep Tony Chandler, and a longtime friend and now retired UA Local 333 plumber and pipefitter, Chris Wright.  Without their efforts it would have been a challenge at times.

On the food realm, the Capital Area Community Services commodity food distribution also experienced some hurdles to overcome for their distribution process.  It was an honor to help them with traffic control as they formulated a mobile pick up model.  With the Lansing service center seeing the majority of the requests, it was a challenge to make sure that the process was handled in an orderly, safe and efficient manner.  This unique challenge like many we have been faced with lately shows the intestinal fortitude and grit that the community has when our backs are against the wall.

There was a company, Instasheilds from the St. Louis, Missouri area who made a challenge.  They were committed to produce and donate one million face shields and get them to non-profits.  CAUW was humbled to be a part of the challenge.  In order to simplify the logistics of the donation, we had a few folks go to Jackson, MI where they were being housed prior to their distribution.  Due to weight of the product we needed two pick up trucks.  Bill Reed again stepped up, along with my oldest grandson Enrique we picked them up and then unloaded them.  I would be remiss if thanks were not shown to Editor of the Lansing Labor News, Harold Foster who graciously allowed us to use the building as a storage facility.    These face shields are not the traditional model.  They lay flat, then you insert the bill of a ball cap into a die cut, fold the sides in, and then lock the unit in place.  Pretty crazy design.      

Although we are dealing with a very different workplace environment, we at CAUW are still on the campaign trail.  We have had to reinvent our “old normal” way of outreach and look at the big picture.  So far as it pertains to campaigns that I work with, only one has allowed for an in-person visit.  We will make sure to answer any challenges to the best of our ability and work with the community to make sure that we help those who are struggling.

One old normal is the campaign thermometer that are spread across the tri-county area.  This has been a constant in my time at the Capital Area United Way and in fact for a few years before I went on staff.  A new design was necessitated a few years back and the UA Local 333 training center was up to the task.  The design is pretty use friendly at least for this thermometer user!!  Again, with help this would be a royal pain.  UAW Local 724 retiree, Phil Huffine has been ready and able to answer the thermometer bell when it is rung and to that many thanks.

With our daily updates, we try to offer a diversion to folks from the reality of the unreal.  The virus is real and it can make our existence painful, exhausting and at times deadly.  I hope that we can continue to send our daily e-mails with some tidbits of information and at times some lighter items.  If you would like to added to the list, please send me an e-mail at

In closing, it is an honor to live in a community such as ours.  The sharing and outpouring in these most uncertain times are humbling.  I feel blessed to be able to serve our community. 

Be safe and may peace be with you

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Oct 08, 2020

Page Last Updated: Oct 08, 2020 (07:27:34)
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