RENEW-ing a future for others

RENEW Local 701

RENEW Local 701 members participated in its first ever holiday food drive, collecting 550 pounds of food and donating it to Naperville’s Loaves & Fishes food pantry, which serves DuPage County residents. In a bit of friendly competition among the apprenticeship classes, first year apprentices got bragging rights for donating the most pounds of food. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

Donations can be mailed to:
Loaves and Fishes
1871 High Grove Lane
Naperville, IL 60540
Phone: 630-355-3663

To learn more or make an on-line donation, visit Loaves and Fishes

NAPERVILLE — Members of IBEW Local 701’s RENEW (Reach out and Engage Next-gen Electrical Workers) ended 2016 with a gesture that will leave an impact on the DuPage County community.

For two months during the holidays, RENEW members collected food and various household items like diapers, for a friendly competition among the apprentices.

RENEW Local 701

A Loaves & Fishes volunteer, left, helps three IBEW Local 701 RENEW members unload 550 pounds of food and household items Dec. 28 donated by the group during its first ever food drive. First year apprentices won a friendly competition, donating the most food of all the classes. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“We challenged the apprentices in our five-year program to see which class could donate the most food,” explained Journeyman Jonathan Johansen who heads the RENEW chapter at Local 701. To keep things fair, donated food was weighed. In the end, first year apprentices earned the bragging rights, donating nearly half of the 550 pounds of food collected. They also collected $80.

“RENEW is all about getting the younger members involved and helping the community. Our first year apprentices they really showed us,” Johansen said with a smile.

The mission of IBEW’s RENEW program is to inspire the next generation of IBEW workers to become active in their local union. The program pushes younger members to focus on issues important to them, provide education about the IBEW and the labor movement, and foster relationships with members and local union leadership.

At their last day of collection in December, RENEW members realized they achieved their goal of a successful food drive, but didn’t know where to donate the items. PowerForward DuPage Executive Director Karyn Charvat helped out by suggesting Loaves & Fishes, which provides food and client resources to DuPage County residents.

RENEW Local 701

Loaves & Fishes Communications and Event Manager Michelle Iskowitz gives Local 701 RENEW members Jonathan Johansen, Thomas Imburgia and Tyler Drew a tour of the facility, allowing them to see first hand how their donations helps the community. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Johansen, along with fellow journeyman Thomas Imburgia, second year apprentice Tyler Drew and Charvat, delivered the food, Dec. 28.

Loaves & Fishes Communications and Event Manager Michelle Iskowitz gave them a tour and explained the significance of their donation.



“A woman who comes here said if it wasn’t for this place, her family would be homeless. With no health insurance, three children and a husband awaiting a liver transplant, all their money goes towards rent,” Iskowitz explained. “Your donation is helping her and hundreds others like her. Having a meal provides such normalcy for a family,” she added.

Motivated by her comments, the RENEW members committed to do more. “With our first year doing this, we didn’t know what to expect. Now we have a goal to double what we donated this year,” Johansen said.

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