Union's end is New Berlin food pantry's surprise gain
School custodial unit donates $10,000
New Berlin - New Berlin food pantry has received a surprise $10,000 donation from the now-defunct New Berlin schools custodial union.
The New Berlin Public School Employees Union Local 1140 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees had $10,000 in the union treasury. After the school district laid off all of its approximately 45 custodians, the union decided it wanted to use it to benefit New Berlin, said Dennis Lucchesi, a union official.
Lots of groups were considered for the donation, Lucchesi said, but the food pantry just stood out.
When he told the pantry's founder and director, Jeanne Holden, of the union's plans, he could tell the huge contribution made an impression.
"I think she almost had a heart attack," Lucchesi said.
Holden is still shocked by the donation
"Wow, I just about passed out," she said.
The union wanted the pantry to use donation to buy something that it normally would have a hard time getting, Lucchesi said - perhaps something that would be around for a long time.
So, the pantry board of directors decided to use the donation for a refrigerator, a laptop and a printer. The rest of the money will be used for ongoing costs associated with those purchases, Holden said.
The computer will make day-to-day pantry management much easier, Holden said, noting that she and two others spend hours in front of their home computers to do such things as ordering food, finding the cheapest plastic bags and even sending out thank-you notes.
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