UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund has raised over $3 million in direct COVID-19 pandemic relief for working families, which is being distributed in over 40 different cities across the U.S. and Canada.
Laid-off worker volunteers are staffing union helplines to assist thousands of workers navigate unemployment insurance and other challenges. UNITE HERE-staffed food distribution events and grocery gift cards giveaways have fed hundreds of thousands of working families in need. Funds have covered health insurance premiums and provided utility and housing relief, as well as PPE for at-risk workers.
Learn more about our stories and the difference ally contributions have made in workers’ lives.
“My name is Shontee Meyers. I’ve been a union member for 9 years, and I’m proud of how we are looking out for each other during this crisis. There’s no shame in asking for help! My family and I received financial support and food deliveries from the UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund, and help navigating the unemployment system from the UNITE HERE Hotline. As a union, we’re stronger when we stick together and look out for one another. When I’m up, I always look to help those around me. It’s who I am, and it’s what our union is about.”
–Shontee Meyers, UNITE HERE Local 23 Indianapolis member
“My name is Nancy Velasquez, and I lost my hotel job as a result of COVID-19. It’s been difficult for our family as my husband is disabled, and I was the only breadwinner for my family. The UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund provided us with grocery gift cards so that I didn’t have to worry about feeding my family during the toughest weeks of the crisis. I am grateful to those who contributed to our union’s hardship fund so that they could support us!”
–Nancy Velasquez, Room Attendant and UNITE HERE Local 483 member
“My name is Yazmin Vazquez and my family received food relief from the UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund. This assistance allowed me to feed my family during the hardest two weeks of the crisis. So far, a team of member volunteers has delivered 1,238 grocery gift cards to 350 Chicago families like mine. It has truly been a lifesaver!”
–Yazmin Vazquez, Public Areas Attendant at the Royal Sonesta & UNITE HERE Local 1 leader
American University food service workers and UNITE HERE Local 23 DC members Anthony Randolph, Orbillina Reyes, and Nathaniel Green
“My co-workers and I are grateful to the AU faculty, students, and alumni who advocated for us to maintain our healthcare and retirement benefits during this crisis. We appreciate the UNITE HERE Education and Support Fund and the faculty who led the fundraising efforts so that we can feed our families—we’ve never seen anything like this before.”
–Anthony Randolph, American University food service worker and UNITE HERE Local 23 DC member