IBEW Local 134 to hold fundraiser for jobless
By Ginger Brashinger Correspondent April 23, 2014 8:00PM
Members of the IBEW Local No. 134 Helping Hand Fund will host a fundraiser at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park to benefit union members in need. | Supplied photo
Updated: May 25, 2014 7:02AM
When times got tough for its members a few years ago, Local 134 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers didn’t look for a handout. Instead, it offered a hand up.
Mike Evans, a 17-year member of the local, said the union in 2011 started its Helping Hand Fund to help members who were struggling through unemployment during the Great Recession. Local 134 members would pitch in at monthly union meetings, and the fund would send $50 grocery gift cards to those who were on the union’s unemployed list.
“It was great, but for someone going through a tragedy or unemployment for two years, a $50 Jewel gift card’s really not going to make that much of a difference,” said Evans, of Evergreen Park.
With bigger things in mind, the fund restructured in 2012, forming a nine-member committee with Evans at the helm and began helping members on a “case-by-case basis,” he said.
Evans said the committee considers any Local 134 member’s need, whether the result of unemployment or other financial challenges, after a member makes a request for help through the website, www.helpinghand134.org.
“Every request, we try to assist,” he said.
Evans said Local 134 members continue to give at monthly meetings through donations and buying raffle tickets, but the need remains great — about 2,000 members still are unemployed, not including apprentices.
To keep Helping Hand well funded, the committee hosted a fundraiser last year and is doing so again.
“Getting Back and Giving Back II” will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and include an open bar, a buffet dinner, entertainment by the Larkin and Moran Brothers and a chance at a 55-inch smart television and two Apple iPad minis donated by Megent Financial.
There also will be a silent auction with tools, sports memorabilia, hotel packages and gift certificates among the items, Evans said.
“Cook County is a heavy union area, not just electricians,” Evans said. “Being part of the union, it’s not just a job. You’re supposed to be taking care of your brothers and sisters. This fund has brought that back to our union.”
For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.helpinghand134.org