Friday, June 19, 2015

Local 120 use food pantry as way to give back to the community

Just some of the Local 120 volunteers at the Minnesota Teamster Food Shelf.
[Thanks to our friends at Local 120 for the submission!]

When entering the Minnesota Teamsters Food Shelf, located in the Joint Council 32 building in Minneapolis, the first thing one sees are the smiling faces of the dedicated Teamster members collecting and handing out food.

The Minnesota Teamsters Food Shelf has stood for decades -- a testament to the rich history the Teamsters members have when it comes to giving back to the community. For over 100 years, the Teamsters have served the communities they live and thrive in through various ways -- whether it be through helping to develop a portable iron lung for polio victims, delivering the polio vaccine to towns in four days versus the six to eight weeks that were projected, or to act as first responders in every major U.S. crisis from L.A. earthquakes to 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina.

Members of Local 120 have worked to maintain and grow that legacy. Through grievance settlements, our members at Supervalu have donated 22 pallets of food -- so much food, in fact, that the food shelf cannot hold it all.

The Local 120 semi truck has become a regular presence outside of the food shelf as it continues to deliver the pallets as space opens up. As the 120 truck rounds the corner to the Joint Council building, a routine begins to form. The shining maroon doors fly open and the forklift brings the cases of food into the parking garage where it is unloaded and stacked. Since many of the volunteers at the food shelf are retirees, there’s never a shortage of wisdom, humor, and thrilling stories of the Teamster past, and there’s definitely not a shortage in dedication for both the Teamsters and the community.

Joe Kabicinski
One retiree in particular, Joe Kabicinski, has proven above and beyond that passion for the community and for the Teamsters never fades. In all of his 33 years as a road driver for Werner Continental, Kabicinski never once got a speeding ticket or had an accident. In fact, he was awarded a grandfather clock for 30 years of safe driving. He took great care in his skill and it translated.

After retiring in January 1986, it did not take him long to jump back into gear. By that summer, he was working at the food shelf, which he eventually started to run in the 1990s. He is truly an inspiration to any that cross his path. When asked, nearly 30 years since he began to work at the food shelf why he continues to devote himself to the community, he said: “I like the people. I work with a nice bunch of people and I enjoy helping the people who come in.”