IBEW Local 103 Helps Combat Food Insecurity

IBEW Local 103 volunteers sort food at the union hall for MLK Day.

Boston – On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, volunteers from the IBEW Local 103 electrical workers gathered to clean and stock a total of eight community refrigerators across the city of Boston with hundreds of food donations purchased and collected by the union. Boston city councilors, Ruthzee Louijeune and Erin Murphy, supported the efforts.

Back row (l-r): Jesus Flores, IBEW Local 103 apprentice; Ruthzee Louijeune; Renee Dozier; and Denise O’Marde, Cafe Juice Up owner

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts has seen a 59% increase in food insecurity overall and a 102% increase for children specifically. “Sometimes we forget that the ongoing pandemic is affecting local families in many, many different ways,” said IBEW Local 103 business agent, Renee Dozier, who helped lead the organizing efforts. “Food insecurity is a big one that we don’t often talk about, despite food access being one of the most basic building blocks of public health.”

Ernesto Williams, IBEW Local 103 member, and Shirley Shillingford, Shirley’s Pantry manager

IBEW Local 103 collected and donated food for community refrigerators in Roslindale, Fenway, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Allston/Brighton, Back Bay and the South End. The union also donated electrical services, installing new security cameras for Cafe Juice Up in Mattapan, which provides power to one of the community refrigerators, and wiring three new circuits at Shirley’s Pantry to support its deep freezers.


Community refrigerator

“I am proud of my union for stepping up to the plate and for helping to feed our neighbors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” said IBEW Local 103 business manager/financial secretary, Lou Antonellis. “Local 103 pushes ourselves each day to carry on Dr. King’s values of equality and service, both in our industry and our community. We have made strides towards a more diverse and inclusive union, and although we have plenty of work ahead of us, we renew our commitment to the process each day. King’s vision is one we must fight for.”