Five CUPE locals hosted the fifth annual CUPE Gives Back family picnic in Port Coquitlam on Saturday. Families and friends enjoyed hotdogs served up from the CUPE BC events trailer as well as popcorn, cotton candy, mini donuts, treats and cool drinks. The beautiful location in Lions Park and cooperative weather added to fun for kids that included face painting, balloon artistry, and bouncy castle games, as well as the excellent playgrounds in the popular community park.

Executive members from each of the five CUPE locals (CUPE 498, 825, 1936, 386, and 561) shared thoughts of the event and connecting to community.

Ron Narayan, CUPE 498 Second Vice President and Chief Steward said that event is a way to give back and feel good doing it. “The public appreciates what we do for them. This raises our profile in the community plus it gets our locals together to coordinate. It’s a really good event.”

Those sentiments were echoed by CUPE 825 Port Moody Civic Workers President Christine Gervan who commented that shifting to different locations each year means that CUPE can connect with more people.

“It’s a great event. It’s a great opportunity to introduce people in the community to what CUPE is and to their own local workers. We’ve got a ton of people coming through. It’s great because we’re seeing lots of members coming out from different locals.”

CUPE 1936, Community Social Services, President Sheryl Burns said that the event demonstrates that CUPE is a part of their community. “And it shows that we’re more than just about being a labour union, that we’re also about social justice work and about making sure that the needs of everyone in our community are met.”

CUPE 1936 member Deea Bailey added, “Our whole local is about community and social services. “To be visible in the community and to be a part of it, is just so important so people see what we’re doing.”

CUPE 386 Coquitlam Civic Employees President Gord Willis was one of the original organizers. “We all share the same common goals and grounds. We live and work here and we thought it was a good idea. We’re a part of the fabric of the community and we want to show it.”

Willis thanked the volunteers who shared their time to help make their community a better place.  “We’re not here for any other purpose than to say, ‘Hi, how’re you doing? Have something to eat and enjoy yourself.”

CUPE 561 represents workers at SD43, Coquitlam Public Libraries, and First Canada ULC in the Fraser Valley). Local 561Treasurer Irene Schoemaker said that they got involved because they enjoy giving back. “I personally volunteer because I enjoy working with the individuals, seeing the happy faces and everyone enjoying themselves.

Visit the CUPE BC gallery to view photos.