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Volunteer members of the Toronto Civic Employees Union (TCEU), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 416, will clean and plant the gardens at the Fred Victor Women’s Hostel, and the Hostel will host a BBQ for all volunteers and residents of the hostel. The project will begin at 8:30 a.m. on June 15. 

The volunteer members of CUPE Local 416 will be joined by Canadian Office and Professional Employees (COPE) Local 343 members who work at the TCEU office. 

All expenses for the events will be paid for by CUPE Local 416. “It’s one of the ways we give back to our community,” said Dave Hewitt, vice-president of the local. “We rally our members, buy the necessary supplies, do the work, and generally host the BBQ for all volunteers and the residents of the hostel.” 

Paul Le Page, CUPE Local 416 member, a horticulturalist with Toronto’s Parks Department, is the member in charge of the gardening operation, organizing the selection and purchase of plants, directing the cleaning and planting. The total number of volunteers working on this community project is approximately 15, including members of CUPE Local 416 and COPE Local 343, who will be joined by about a dozen residents from the hostel. 

Friday is going to be a very busy day for us,” said Hewitt. “We’ll have volunteers arriving early in the morning and working until the gardens – both front and back yards – are cleaned and planted; then we will have the BBQ for maybe 100 people, including all volunteers, staff and residents from the hostel. 

Members of CUPE Local 416 take vacation days to volunteer for numerous community service events. Early this spring, CUPE Local 416 participated in Earth Day activities at Valley Park Middle School, planting almost 2500 trees with help from students. This year, among other activities, CUPE Local 416 will participate in 37 Environment Days from April through September. Hosted by City Councillors in their wards, CUPE Local 416 volunteers attend every weekend event, giving away compost bags and helping the public load the bags into their cars. 

For further information, please contact: 

Dave Hewitt, Vice-President, CUPE Local 416, (416) 451-7528

Denise Rehel, Secretary, TCEU Office, (416) 823-1273

Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications, (416) 892-8716