Children who attend a Toledo inner city after-school program will stay warm this winter thanks to a group of Toledo District apprentices.
Roughly, a dozen third-year apprentices spent an estimated 250 man-hours to install a furnace, put up ductwork and fix the air conditioner in the building of Soul City Boxing Club, a non-profit serving the area’s youth.
The Club provides education and tutoring services, hot meals and after school activities such as general fitness classes, yoga and meditation, wrestling and boxing to the neighborhood’s children, most of whom are underprivileged.
With winter bearing down, Soul’s furnace died and they could not raise enough funds to purchase and install new units.
Local 33 Business Representative and Toledo Councilman Matt Cherry said the District found out about Soul’s problem from a local newspaper article and decided they needed to do something to help.
Local contractors VM Systems and M&M Heating and Cooling, along with SMW 33 donated materials and labor exceeding $30,000.
“Soul City does so many great things for their kids in the inner city and we wanted to help them stay warm,” said Cherry. “The kids there have dreams and we at Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 want to keep those dreams alive.”
He was proud of the work performed by the apprentices and stressed the need to get the younger generation, especially Local 33 apprentices, involved with these type of projects because it shows them what it means to give back to the community.
“If you get them involved early and place that special feeling inside of them when they complete a project like this for people in our community, then they (apprentices) will not hesitate to put on the tool belt and participate in additional future volunteer projects.”
It was also a chance to introduce the club’s members to the Sheet Metal trade.
“We need to get our community to look at jobs with the skilled trades, which are in high demand,” said Cherry. “We need to tell them about the paychecks and benefits that the Unions have to offer.”