For past month, SEIU 721 Inland members gathered unwrapped toys and non-perishable food for this year’s Holiday Toy and Food Drive. On Saturday, Dec. 12, they came together at Bryant Park in Riverside, to celebrate and donate the goods to Olive Crest, a non-profit foster service organization. Members and leaders from RPOA and IBEW Local 47 also participated, making it one of the most successful Toy Drive to date.
Enrique Barboza, SEIU 721City of Riverside Chapter chair-elect and main organizer of the event, was overwhelmed by the generosity of union members and the community.
“Having to get more cars and trucks to help take the donations to Olive Crest is a good problem. This is the best turnout we’ve had so far.” – Enrique Barboza, SEIU 721 Riverside Chapter Chair-elect, surveying the collection of toys and food.
The Riverside Police Officers’ Association came with a van full of items and Angelo’s Towing of Riverside carried boxes on the back of their flatbed truck.
Joe Brito, Angelo’s General Manager, and Rosa Martinez, Dispatch Manager and Accountant, heard about the toy drive from SEIU 721 member Lashon Haley, and RPOA Community Relations Manger Beatriz Putnam. All the drivers pitched in money and management matched the amount so they could buy toys.
“It’s exciting to give back to the community. We can’t wait until next year.”– Joe Brito, General Manager Angelo’s Towing.
Pamala Griffith, Olive Crest Community Involvement Manager, acknowledged all the hard work union members did in getting donations for the children and families they provide services to.The non-profit is dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating and educating at-risk children and preserving families, and is the main wrap-around service that the County of Riverside uses.
Several of the young men that live in Olive Crest group homes attended the holiday picnic and had an opportunity to visit with union members and Riverside Councilman Jim Perry.
“This is what we can do when we work together as a community and with other unions.” – Bob Schoonover, SEIU 721 President
Members and their families enjoyed tacos and drinks while Santa and McGruff the Safety Dog handed out candy canes and posed for photos.
The bounce house was in full swing too.