USW Cares: 2017 District 1 Jefferson Award Winner, Deidria Collins

Deidria Collins of Local Union 731 is District 1’s USW Jefferson Award winner because of her community service and voluntarism in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Collins works fulltime as a desk-checker palletizer operator for Glatfelter, serves on the local’s Civil and Human Rights committee, is a union steward, and is involved with Women of Steel. She still finds time to do an impressive amount of service work outside of her union, though.

She works with four organizations that aid the homeless, fund her local community center, provide in-need children with school supplies and help people who are struggling abroad.

Service

Most of Collins’ volunteer work is done through a group called Five Loaves Chillcothe, which provides food and other necessities to the local shelter.

Every month, Collins helps run their food giveaways and helps to pack more than 500 “necessity kits” to give to the homeless. She also prepares and serves hot meals at the local homeless shelter at least once a week.

Collins drums up donations, both cash and item, to provide for the shelter and students in low-income households by advertising on Facebook, and she even meets people to conveniently pick up their donations.

Five Loaves’ has a sister organization, Two Fish Coffee, which Collins also volunteers with to raise funds for the community. Two Fish buys coffee from women in Africa who grow it to provide for their families. Volunteers roast, grind and bag the coffee to sell, and the profits are used to aid different projects every month. For example, Two Fish’s profits from last summer paid for pool passes for all of the children who attended summer camp at the community center.

Glatfelter Family

“Without my good job and benefits as a member of the USW, I would not be able to give back as much,” said Collins, who is a third generation Glatfelter employee and union member.

Collins’ father, who began donating his time and money after retiring from Glatfelter last year, inspired her to begin her own journey with volunteer work.

“Now that my kids are grown, I have a little more time on my hands to use giving-back.”

Collins’ son works for Glatfelter, too, but she considers all of her coworkers to be family. “We call it the Glatfelter family,” she said, “we all help each other out and enjoy working together, and whenever I’m collecting, people in the union support me by donating. I hope to get the rest of the local more involved with volunteering, too.”

Future Plans

Collins is currently fund-raising to pay for a mission trip to Haiti with Lucille Mathias Foreign Mission Ministry this September. They will bring needed items (like fuel, water filters, and medicine) to the people and will rebuild homes destroyed by hurricanes and earthquakes that left the country in disrepair.

Collins is Chair on the Mission’s fundraising committee that planned a Jazz fundraiser event to finance the missionaries’ work in Haiti. After months of promotion, Collins’ trip is almost fully funded.

USW Cares

Collins feels very fortunate because her job and her union make it possible for her to help others. “I’m very proud of being able to do this work,” she said.

The USW congratulates Deidria Collins and all of the 2017 USW Jefferson Award winners for their incredible impact in our communities and workplaces.

Be sure to nominate Steelworkers who are active in their communities for a USW Jefferson Award and encourage your brothers and sisters to do the same! The USW Jefferson Awards nomination form is now open for 2018 submissions: http://usw.to/rq.

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