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January 3, 2013

Heat Comes to SFBFS

Who doesn’t love a situation where everybody wins? Through a four-way team effort between the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), United Way and the Sheet Metal Workers Union: Local 104 (SMWIA), future AmeriCorps NCCC teams who serve at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) will have a warm house to call home, while members of the Sheet Metal Workers Union Apprenticeship Program will gain valuable labor skills.

Greg Larkins, the Community Services Liasion with AFL-CIO/United Way along with Randy Young, Business Representative with SMWIA and Mark Paavola Apprenticeship Director of SMWIA, recruited members of SMWIA’s apprenticeship program to donate their time installing a heating system in an aging Victorian home on SFBFS’ campus. The home, located on 33rd street behind SFBFS’ original facility, will provide housing for Blue 6, the AmeriCorps NCCC teams of 11 young adults who will be volunteering this winter and spring with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA).
VITA is designed to enable low to moderate income taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets, thereby investing/spending that money locally. In addition to housing, SFBFS will provide a training site for NCCC volunteers before they are deployed throughout Sacramento to serve. Before Blue 6 moves in, the house needed a bit of a TLC, starting with heat.
The members of the apprenticeship program who installed the heating system enjoyed working with a local non-profit organization and a unique training opportunity.

“This is very beneficial experience for our apprenticeship team,” said Mark Paavola, Apprenticeship Director with the Sheet Metal Workers Union. “Usually, the apprentice program trains members in industrial and commercial installation, so this gives them an on-the-job training experience to learn proper residential installation.”

The materials for the heating system including the furnace and duct work were contributed by DDK Mechanical, Liberty Duct, WV Alton and BOS Sheet Metal.

Today’s project was not the first experience the SMWIA’s apprenticeship program worked with non-profits. In the past two years, SMWIA’s team worked on four local homes with Habitat for Humanity.
“Helping those in need is our way lending a hand,” said Paavola. “Our team gets on-the-job experience and we provide a great service to the areas we work in. Helping the community is our main goal.”

And what a help they have provided! With the project complete, Blue 6 will enjoy a nice toasty house throughout the winter, clients in the Sacramento area will receive tax assistance from conveniently located volunteers and SFBFS will have an updated facility to house future AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers. Not to mention the SMWIA apprentice team received an invaluable crash-course in residential heating installation. A tremendous thanks goes to SMWIA Local 104 and to Greg Larkins for helping connect SFBFS with SMWIA. Thank you for bringing heat to SFBFS on one of the chilliest days of the year.

 Submitted by Matt Pruitt, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer

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