In it – together. It’s a concept that has been embraced by millions as the world deals with the effects of the coronavirus. The same is true of UAW Local 1219, which recently partnered with local Lima agencies to meet the needs of their front-line heroes.
As the need for hand sanitizer grew and supplies ran short, leadership at the Procter & Gamble facility just outside Lima went to work developing and producing the much-needed product. After the company determined the process was viable, the Emergency Management Association and United Way of Greater Lima reached out to members of Local 1219 for assistance. They needed to transfer the product from bulk drums to individual containers that could easily be distributed to first responders and healthcare professionals throughout Allen County in Ohio.
The need for hand sanitizer was revealed at a COVID-19 relief fund weekly meeting that brings together representatives from local labor organizations, as well as emergency management personnel and leaders from charitable groups. Participants gather to understand community needs, then match those needs with volunteers and action plans. Mike Copeland, UAW Local 1219 president, attends the meetings.
We have been able to identify risks or gaps in our response plan for the community as the needs grow,” said Copeland, adding that a substantial portion of a recent meeting was devoted to identifying resources each partner agency has to offer the community. “We have made a point to offer our union hall, the surrounding property and select volunteers from our community service committee. We’re very proud that we were able to do our part,” said Copeland.
Copeland, along with Local 1219 members Alberta Morris, Wynthia Brown, Jeff Adams, Crystal Jones, Kelly Hicks, Camy Jones, Debbie Smith, Jennifer Nemeth, Tosha Dunson, Donte’ Brown and Lisa Adams labeled, filled and packaged 1,800 bottles in one day. “With the success of this project, it looks like we may become a makeshift distribution center for this type of product, as well as other needs for our local emergency responders, hospitals and clinics,” said Copeland.
Derek Stemen, executive director of the Lima chapter of United Way, said these coordinated efforts have met a great need in the community and he is grateful so many partner agencies stepped up to recognize and fill that need. “We’re proud to work with the UAW 1219 and all of our partners in serving our community during this time of need,” said Stemen. “This is truly a community partnership and demonstrates how we can achieve great things when we work together.”