Skip to content

A Sweet Donation!

Posted in Unifor Local 88



Unifor 88 shares the spirit of giving.

November 24, 2018.

Ingersoll – The euphoric and excited atmosphere on the weekend at the annual Bid for Kids event, was not only from the yummy cupcakes up for auction.
With a goal of $40,000 in mind for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ingersoll/Tillsonburg, everyone in attendance was blown away when Unifor Local 88 was involved in a bidding war. They bid 25,000 dollars on a dozen of the sweet treats during a charity auction. “It was quite a spectacle” says Steve Pye, Local 88 Community representative. With a shocked crowd the bidding just kept on climbing. The cupcakes are a big hit and baked locally by Unifor 88 Member, Denise Vyse, who said she “was honoured” that it was her treats that were used for the surprise donation. “It was a huge-hearted statement made on behalf of our membership with a heart second to none” said Steve Pye. With a big turnout from Local 88 members, including Plant Coordinator Mike Murphy Plant Chair Mike Van Boekel and President Joe Graves. The place was packed and the energy palpable. “We wanted to create a shock value” said Mike Van Boekel. Joe said, “It was actually pretty cool! We wanted to enlighten people about Local 88. The whole room erupted. People were shaking our hands. It was exciting, very exciting! ”  Unifor 88 is the leading sponsor of Big Brothers and Sisters in the area.

Unifor Local 88 was able to donate the money thanks to a collectively bargained fund with GM Canada of $100,000 for community outreach. “Our idea and the plan going forward, is to shock” said Mike Van Boekel, “No one was in on it. We were hoping for a Wow factor. We wanted more exposure for Local 88. This let’s people know that we’re important in the community.”
The $100,000 is based annually, so it will be $400,000 in total. It is a way to raise awareness of the union’s work in the communities around CAMI.$50,000 of the amount goes to month to month donations that Local 88 supports through their executive meetings and membership meetings. The remaining $50,000 is split into 2, $25,000 donations per year. How the donations get distributed is up to the union.

The first donation was made in October to the town of Ingersoll. The town has lost their weekly paper and have no great way to spread any news of upcoming events.
The town decided at a town council meeting to buy and install a digital display board and install it at the main intersection of downtown Ingersoll – any charity group can post their upcoming events, blood donor clinics, town events, Boy Scouts, etc. Local 88 surprised the meeting attendees with an offer of full payment of the sign.

The impact of such a donation is big, at a time when funding is needed most “This gift of $25,000 from Unifor Local 88 makes a huge impact on our organization. These funds allow us to continue offering our mentoring programs to this community. This includes recruitment of volunteers, child safety program training for our members, creating and maintain high quality mentoring program standards, ongoing supervision and relationship support by our trained professionals and providing social activities to enrich opportunities for children in our community. In the end, it is all about the kids.” says Nicole Killaire, Development Coordinator.

Big Sisters and Brothers is a youth mentoring organization that offers unique mentoring programs to children and youth in their local communities completely free to families. “We believe that every child who needs a mentor deserves to have a mentor” says Nicole. Big Brothers and Big Sisters offer 12 unique mentoring programs and serve approximately 250 children and youth each year. They are always looking for volunteers, if you wish to help, or are looking for more info. Please contact (519) 485-1801 or visit the web site at