This story first appeared on the Fair Contracting Foundation for Minnesota website.

Every year Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud reaches out to ask the community to help families in difficult financial times throughout Central Minnesota for a chance to enjoy Christmas and the Holiday Season. The “Share the Spirit” program matches families in need who are nominated by area social workers and education professionals with individuals or businesses that buy presents for them. Some gifts are needs and some are wants, of course. The people or organizations agree to spend at least $70 on each family member. Gifts are taken in just one day before the families come to pick them up. This is where the union building trades put the muscle in the program.

Through the leadership of the Central Minnesota Building Trades, union trades men and women volunteer their time for two days doing the legwork of taking carloads of gifts in and then loading them out to the cars of the families waiting in the parking lot the next day. “We are like Santa’s elves,” explained Mike Ganz, President of the Central Minnesota Building Trades Union. “We get members of every trade to come out and help. It’s a great program.”

“Without their support, we would not be able to make this happen,” said Bambi Holloway, Program Coordinator of Share the Spirit.

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