From left, Jeff Rains, president of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR); Shareholder Todd Neilson, SHC; Lisa Guilliams, founder of TWIGS, a summer-long free lunch program in Granite City; Shareholder Brent Copple, SHC; and Shareholder Paul Dix, SHC
 From left, Jeff Rains, president of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR); Shareholder Todd Neilson, SHC; Lisa Guilliams, founder of TWIGS, a summer-long free lunch program in Granite City; Shareholder Brent Copple, SHC; and Shareholder Paul Dix, SHC


Simmons Hanly Conroy has been a longtime supporter of unions, donating close to $200,000 since 2012 toward helping union families facing financial hardship. That support continued last Christmas when the firm and several community groups came together to ensure laid-off steelworkers and their families could enjoy the holiday season.

“It’s a hard thing to ask for help for yourself and even harder to admit you need help because you can’t provide a Christmas for your family,” said one laid-off steelworker who participated in the event. “But being proud doesn’t feed your family. I’m grateful for groups like Simmons that help us have a Christmas.”

Hosted in the Granite City Township Building for the second consecutive year, the event offered hope in the form of hundreds of food baskets donated by several community groups and 300 Target gift cards donated by SHC. The firm also donated 300 Target gift cards at the inaugural event last year.

“Our firm strongly believes in supporting the communities we call home and has always been an avid supporter and friend to unions,” said SHC Shareholder Brent Copple. “And just like you would help a friend of yours if they were struggling, we wanted to do something for these families as well.”

Copple, joined by fellow shareholders Paul Dix and Todd Neilson, delivered the 300 gift cards to steelworkers and their families during the event. Jeff Rains, president of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), said the support of SHC and other participating community groups made a monumental impact.

“For a lot of people that are laid off, being a steelworker is all they know,” he said. “Not being able to work, not being able to support their families – it’s hard, especially at Christmas. These donations mean the difference between having a Christmas and not to a lot of them. That impact is huge.”

In addition to the gift cards, 660 food baskets containing 26,500 pounds of fresh meat, eggs, dairy and produce were distributed to families.

SHC was joined by the United Way of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis Area Foodbank and Twigs to provide the donations. The initiative was sponsored by SHC; Schroader & Chapman, P.C.; IL Representative Katie Stuart of the 112th District; CJ Baricevic; Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli, P.C.; GCS Credit Union; Greater Madison County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO; AFSCME #799; Associate Judge Sarah Smith; Madison County Prosecutor Rachelle Aud Crowe; Greater Madison County Federation of Labor; Attorney Marc Parker; Madison County Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida; and Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza.

Volunteers begin to set up the assembly line for food baskets.
Volunteers begin to set up the assembly line for food baskets.

 

A laid-off steelworker waits for the event to begin.
A laid-off steelworker waits for the event to begin.

 

Volunteers set up boxes of cheese for the food basket assembly line.
Volunteers set up boxes of cheese for the food basket assembly line.

 

Fresh eggs are delivered for families waiting for food baskets.
Fresh eggs are delivered for families waiting for food baskets.