Toy Drive

We all know that union work provides good wages and stable benefits, but some union households can struggle to provide a happy holiday for their families due to injuries, layoffs or similar challenges. Thankfully, nonprofit organizations serving organized labor in the Pacific Northwest are there to help union members during difficult times. Among them are Labor’s Community Service Agency in Portland and the Puget Sound Labor Agency in Seattle.

The SAG-AFTRA Portland Local has supported LCSA’s Presents from Partners holiday event for years with a donation of toys and gifts for needy union families. In 2019, members of the Local Board wanted to do more for union families in our region, so they threw down the gauntlet to our siblings in the Seattle Local. They challenged Seattle members to donate more toys to the annual PSLA Children’s Holiday Party than Portland members could donate to Presents from Partners. 

Over the next two weeks, Portland and Seattle members rushed to bring their donations to their respective nonprofit agencies, sending photos of themselves with the toys, puzzles and games they were donating. In the end, Portland was victorious, donating more toys than Seattle members — but the real winners were the working families who benefited from the gifts. LCSA reported that they were able to serve around 600 people at this year’s Presents from Partners event, while PSLA served 165 people at its holiday party.

What does the winning local get for its victory, beyond bragging rights in the coming year? The Seattle Local Board has agreed to serenade the Portland Local Board with the Oregon state song at the upcoming Pacific Northwest SAG-AFTRA board retreat this spring. But don’t get too comfortable Portland members. By all reports, the Seattle Local plans to redouble their efforts during this December’s toy drive challenge!

Photo: National Board member Mary McDonald-Lewis with her donations to the Presents from Partners holiday toy drive. Photo by Mary McDonald-Lewis.


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