By: Síle Moloney, Norwood News
The New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters, and the Carpenter Contractor Alliance of Metropolitan New York delivered over 1,734 toys to children throughout The Bronx and New York City during the holiday season in December 2022. The unions partnered with local elected officials and community organizations for 7 different events held across the borough and many more held throughout the city. Union representatives said while the holiday season is a joyful one, it can be difficult for many New Yorkers, and union carpenters and contractors wanted to do their part to give back to those in need.
Elected officials who came together for this year’s holiday toy drives in The Bronx included Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, State Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey (S.D. 36), District 12 City Council Member Kevin Riley, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (A.D. 83), Assembly Member Latoya Joyner (A.D. 77), former assembly member for A.D. 80 and current state senator for S.D. 34, Nathalia Fernandez, Assembly Member Kenny Burgos (A.D. 85), Congress Member Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), District 15 City Council Member Member Oswald Feliz, and Assembly Member Karines Reyes (A.D. 87).
Across New York City, union carpenters participated in 18 toy drives in an effort to alleviate stress on families, spread kindness, and foster holiday cheer.
According to union officials, giving back to the community is one of the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters and the Carpenter Contractor Alliance of Metropolitan New York’s core values, and the annual toy drives are part of a larger effort to give back and uplift communities to build a better New York, representatives said.
Executive secretary-treasurer of New York carpenters and contractors, Joseph Geiger, said the unions were always committed to uplifting their communities, but especially during the holiday season. “We must help our neighbors in need,” he said. “I am proud of the work our union members did to make these holiday drives a success. We hope everyone has a healthy and happy holiday with their loved ones.”
His words were echoed by the Bronx borough president who said, “With inflation and many families still reeling from the impact COVID-19 had on our communities, the holidays can be a challenging time for many families in need.” Gibson added, “That is why I want to thank New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters for their partnership on this year`s toy giveaway and commitment to giving back to our families. Seeing all of the smiles in the room highlight the difference we can make when we work together.”
For his part, Bailey, also chair of the Bronx Democratic Party, said of the toy drives, “I was happy to work with the union carpenters on such a wonderful cause and give back to our Bronx communities.” He added, “I applaud the union brothers and sisters for their honorable effort to uplift the communities they work in.”
Meanwhile, the assembly speaker said it had been an honor to work alongside union carpenters for many years, giving back to families in The Bronx. “There’s no better way to end the year than to bring smiles to the faces of our community,” Heastie said. “Thank you to the union carpenters and contractors for their leadership.”
Joyner, meanwhile, said, that the toy drives showed that when the community worked together, it could make a big difference for so many people. “The holiday season is all about giving back, so I’m proud to have done my part alongside the wonderful members of the carpenters union,” she said.
Burgos took the opportunity to give thanks for the partnership with the unions, saying, “NYC District Council of Carpenters has created an incredible space to allow us to connect and give back to our communities.” He added, “It is an honor to work with colleagues and community members to bring holiday cheer.”
The New York City District Council of Carpenters is a representative body comprised of nine individual Locals and 22,000 union members. District officials say the council functions as the voice for thousands of New York City’s most dedicated and skilled carpenters, millwrights, dockbuilders, marine divers, core drillers, timbermen, concrete carpenters, cabinetmakers, floor coverers and industrial workers.