Maria Santiago Lillis was a Grand Lodge Representative for the Western Territory who passed away in June 2021. She was a mentor to many and a tireless champion for workers, women, and human rights.

In order to honor her memory, continue her legacy, and encourage all IAM members to emulate her commitment to service, the IAM Executive Council instituted August 10, Sister Lillis’s birthday, as “Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day – A Commitment to Serve (ACTS).”

WATCH: Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day

IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen presented Homeboy Industries, an organization committed to improving the lives of former gang members and ex-cons in the Los Angeles area, with a monetary donation. The Western Territory also collected broken and old electronics for Homeboy Industries’ electronics recycling program that employs and rehabilitates participants.

WATCH: IAM Western Territory Partners with Homeboy Industries to Give Back for Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day 

“Sister Maria is missed dearly, and it makes me incredibly proud of our membership to see so many people honoring her with tremendous acts of community service,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “This is exactly what we were hoping for when we instituted Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day: community, comradery, humanity, compassion – all the things that Maria personified. Her light will shine on through our service.”

District 160 in Washington state raised $1,000 for the Community & Family Services Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to foster parents and the abused and neglected children they care for.

District 751 hosted a stuffed animal drive and donated the stuffed animals to two retirement facilities to comfort the residents.

Local SC 711 made a $250 donation for school supplies to Vegas Verdes Elementary School in Las Vegas.

The Local 933 Women’s Committee organized a sock drive for their local women’s shelter with the goal of each union member donating one pair of new socks, which would mean 1,100 pairs of socks donated. Their total ended up being 1,421 pairs of socks donated to the shelter.

Local 794 donated $200 to Roadrunner Food Bank, a well-known organization that distributes food items to communities in need all across New Mexico.

District W24 and members of Locals 1005 and 1432 hosted a barbeque for military veterans living in transitional housing that allows veterans “to build responsible independence with their own space while offering the opportunity to connect with the community.”

Locals 389, 1125, and 755 presented $600 to Darlene Moreno, Development Coordinator of the YWCA of San Diego, “Becky’s House”. Becky’s House is a shelter in San Diego that houses women, children, and men who have decided to break the cycle of domestic violence.

Local 1998 and Local 1979 officers and members collected food donations for and volunteered at the Pantry. With the help of community donations, they collected 400 pounds of goods, impacting 272 families and 690 individuals who are in need and contributing to the Pantry’s weekly goal of collecting 19,400 pounds of food and goods to support the community and the island of Hawaii.

READ: Hawaii Locals 1998 and 1979 Make Mark on Community in Honor of Late Maria Santiago Lillis

Local 1746 hosted a “Backpack Rally” event that supported 559 families and 1,072 students with stamp cards; they handed out 2,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies donated by The Winpisinger Center, the IAM Eastern Territory, and Local 1746. They also used the event as an organizing opportunity and spoke to community members interested in bringing a union into their workplace.

READ: Connecticut Local 1746 Women’s Committee Gives Back to Local School for Maria Santiago Lillis Advocacy Day

Local 2797 raised $255 through a 50/50 drawing for The Youth Project, a local organization with the mission to make Nova Scotia a safer, healthier, and happier place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth through support, education, resource expansion, and community development.

Local 2198 members donated $750 for their Women’s and Human Rights Committees to sponsor 30 kids from the BEAR Organization, an organization that provides hope and help for abused and neglected children and the caseworkers who protect them within Harris County.

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