Volunteers at the food and toy distribution. Courtesy United Way of San Diego

More than 650 families from San Diego and Imperial counties Tuesday received donated toys, gifts and holiday dinner fixings from the United Way of San Diego County and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

The 31st annual Holiday Food and Toy Distribution was organized by the Unions United partnership between United Way and the labor council. More than 500 San Diego County families and 150 Imperial County families participated in the event.

Union workers in both counties contributed to the distribution effort, according to Unions United, and the donations will help United Way’s food pantry stay open year-round.

“In 2018, too many of our working families are paid wages so low they struggle to make ends meet,” said labor council Executive Secretary- Treasurer Keith Maddox. “Families shouldn’t have to choose between a roof over their head and a holiday meal for their family.”

Recipients included low-wage healthcare and hotel workers who went on strike this year calling for higher wages and better working conditions, along with recently immigrated families and fire victims.

“The efforts of Unions United are especially important, as children who experience economic hardship when they are young are at the greatest risk for lower academic outcomes,” said Nancy Sasaki, president and CEO of Unions United and United Way of San Diego County. “United Way’s work with the Labor Council provides assistance to these children and families during the holidays and throughout the year. Together, we can build a vibrant community with opportunity for everyone.”

–City News Service

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