Workers Helping Workers: More Than 650 Families in Need Receive Holiday Food & Toys at Annual United Way-Labor Council Event

Unions United Partnership Supports Working Families Year-Round

SAN DIEGO (December 18, 2018) – Today, more than 650 families received holiday dinners, toys and gifts donated by union members across San Diego & Imperial Counties. United Way of San Diego County and the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council’s 31st Holiday Food and Toy Distribution is an annual event coordinated through their Unions United partnership. The event supports working families and community members who struggle to make ends meet, through generous donations from union teachers, firefighters, retail workers, nurses, truck drivers, construction workers and more.

Over 500 families in San Diego County and 150 families in Imperial County benefited from the 2018 drive distribution, including home healthcare workers, hospital workers, janitors and others who regularly need assistance due to low wages and high housing costs in the region. Other recipients this year included UNITE-HERE Hotel workers and UC San Diego Hospital employees, who went on strike to fight for higher wages for their fellow workers, and community members identified by local nonprofits, including recent immigrants and fire victims.

“In 2018, too many of our working families are paid wages so low they struggle to make ends meet. Families shouldn’t have to choose between a roof over their head and a holiday meal for their family,” said Keith Maddox, executive secretary-treasurer, San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council. “Our food and toy drive is an example of the power of workers standing together and helping one another and their communities.”

These workers support one another through Unions United, a partnership of the San Diego and Imperial Counties’ 135 member unions and the United Way of San Diego County. Many of the 200,000 workers the Labor Council represents make monthly donations from their paychecks to assist fellow working families and community members in need. In addition to funding the annual holiday event, these donations support a year-round food pantry at United Way’s San Diego headquarters and emergency assistance for workers. Last year, 2,400 union families received Unions United’s assistance – including food, rent, mortgage and utility support.

“The efforts of Unions United are especially important, as children who experience economic hardship when they are young are at the greatest risk for lower academic outcomes. United Way’s work with the Labor Council provides assistance to these children and families during the holidays and throughout the year,” said Nancy Sasaki, president and CEO, Unions United/United Way of San Diego County. “Together, we can build a vibrant community with opportunity for everyone.”

To learn more, get help or donate, visit our website.

About United Way of San Diego County

For 98 years, United Way of San Diego County has disrupted cycles of poverty by developing long-term solutions for children and families. United Way plays a unique role in the San Diego community, bringing people and resources together to spark breakthrough community action that elevates every child and family toward a brighter future. Developing regional partnerships around effective practices, the organization makes measurable, significant change in the education and success of children from cradle to career and helps families have the support needed to ensure that success. United Way focuses on educational milestones, such as kindergarten readiness, third-grade literacy, high school preparation, and college and career pathways. Learn more at, the blog, Facebook and Twitter.

About San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council

The San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council is a community of more than 200,000 working families standing together. At the Labor Council, nurses, teachers, firefighters, service workers and construction tradespeople join healthcare workers, hotel workers, janitors and zoo employees in their common fight for a voice on the job and at the decision making table. The Council and its 135 member unions seek to improve the lives of working people by advocating for living wages, housing that is affordable, quality healthcare and a secure retirement for all.