Unimin workers host food drive
Late last November, Unimin’s corporate office suggested that each plant organize a food drive for the community.
It was too late in the season to organize the drive, so they included it in their annual community relations plan.
In September, Unimin had a day-long safety emphasis day, when all employees at both the Tamms and Elco plant were in attendance.
During the event, they introduced their holiday food drive, which they called “Stuff the Bag.”
They handed out a flyer with a grocery list and talked about how food pantries meet very real needs – the laid off worker who doesn’t qualify for unemployment, the senior who has to decide between buying medicines and buying groceries, the single mom whose car breaks down and grocery money has to go for car repairs. Apparently, it struck a chord with employees.
From Oct. 6 through Nov. 17, they designated Fridays as “Foody Fridays.”
They had stickers to place on each Thursday’s pay envelope, reminding them to purchase and contribute items weekly.
Unimin had a $5 challenge – take just a $5 bill into the grocery store and see how many items could be purchased.
They encouraged employees to involve their young children and grandchildren, as a way to teach them about generosity.
A male employee who was single said he didn’t go to the grocery store, so he gave another employee a $20.
When the receipt and the bags of groceries was brought back, he was so excited about how much was purchased with his money.
Another employee and his wife made it their personal mission. His wife contacted local grocery stores in Pulaski and Alexander counties and brought in cases of canned vegetables.
While at Dollar General checking out, she told the cashier what she was doing.
The man in the line behind her said, “I want to help too,” and pulled out a $20 bill.
She told him she wouldn’t take his cash, but she would help him shop for items.
The employees have taken ownership of the program.
The bags that were stuffed at each plant are 1,000 pound bags. They had to purchase plastic totes to fill because each bag reached capacity early on.
The Elco plant collected food and it came in just under 1,000 pounds. The Tamms plant collected 200 pounds.
The items which were collected were donated to two food pantries in the area: one at Harvest Church of Southern Illinois in Anna and the other at Trinity Assembly of God in Olive Branch.