For over two decades the Central Ohio Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, has been partnering with community organizations in the “One New Toy” campaign during the holiday season to aid needy families, giving out tons of food, toys for children and aid to families needing help. This year that program will kick off this weekend (12/14-15-16) at St. Stephens Community House, 1500 E. 17th St, Columbus, (43219), and they are still looking for more volunteers.

Last year this program aided over 1,500 Columbus families, but this year the load is expected, due to the continuing economic downturn, to be even larger. Hundreds of volunteers are involved, packing and unpacking, unloading trucks and getting the food, gifts, to the waiting families, feeding, helping the volunteers, etc. Unions are asking for more volunteers, from progressive groups, or individuals wanting to give back to our community.

To volunteer, call Joan Fluharty, AFL-CIO Community Outreach Representative, at 614-266-6165, or just show up at St. Stephens, at 1500 E. 17th St., during the 9-5 period, on Friday, 12/14, Saturday or Sunday. You can volunteer for an hour or more, all day, as long or little as you are able.

“This is a great program,” Joan said, “It helps the hard-working people in our community that are falling through the cracks of our frayed economic safety net in these tough times. It means that good people, working to get by but getting kicked by the system don’t go without during the holidays. Besides that it is a great way to get a good word out there about our unions, our movement, our friends with other groups that help out. Not only that, but it really is a great time!”

Families needing assistance are given food and gifts for children, based on their family size. Organized labor publishes official thanks to all groups, individuals, volunteering to help.

Progressives, working with the Free Press, Peace organizations, women’s, student, other community groups, Occupy activists, will all be welcomed with open arms and given public thanks for their help.

“With all the disgusting corporate push on so-called ‘Black Friday,’ the corporatization of even all of our holidays now, volunteering with union/community friends to aid folks that need help in our community is a wonderful antidote.” said Dave Caldwell, president of the Central Ohio Labor Federation. “It gets us back to what this time is supposed to be about.”