Giving comes naturally to the registered practical nurses, personal support workers (PSWs), restorative and dietary staff at Iler Lodge in Essex. Each day they work diligently to give residents at the home the best care possible, often under challenging conditions.

But this holiday season, the 72 members of CUPE 1370 wanted to do something more to give to seniors in the community. They also wanted to highlight their labour activism. Then they remembered hearing that food bank use among area seniors is rising, and that compared to other Ontario communities, the proportion of low-income families living in low-income neighbourhoods is much higher in Windsor-Essex.

“We thought it was important, because of what we do, that we find another way to help and give back to seniors in our community, and that would also say something about poverty and the rise of low wage work in our area. That’s when we thought of the food bank.

“That older people in our community are going hungry is very sad. That there are a high number of children and families living in poverty here, and that the provincial government is not increasing the minimum wage to over $15, is shameful. In our small way we want to do something about that,” says Dorothy Metcalf CUPE 1370 President and a PSW.

With a $500.00 gift in hand, on Thursday, December 12, Dorothy Metcalf, Gail Richmond also a PSW at the Iler home, and Kelly DaRe a restorative therapist, made a donation to the Essex Food Bank (at the Essex United Church, 53 Talbot Street South) on behalf of their membership. 

“Sometimes it’s not the size of the donation that matters most, but what the act of giving means for the people doing the offering. For us, it is truly a gift to be able to meld our principles, the work we do and giving back to our community,” says Metcalf.