When William Ivey says, “We try to give back to the community,” he’s not kidding. A UFCW Local 400 member working as a sanitation specialist at Boar’s Head in Jarratt, Va., for the past 12 years, Billy goes far above and beyond the call of duty to support not only his Local 400 brothers and sisters, but his neighbors, too.
Together with his Local 400 colleagues Emerson Tennessee and Andrew Blunt, his brother Leon and other friends, Billy founded the Community Fellowship of Men, an organization that has “adopted” the second grade class at Capron Elementary School in Capron, Va., as their own. The Community Fellowship hosts an annual cookout every October, which raises funds to provide every second grader with a backpack filled with school supplies. The 2015 cookout marked the 10th year of this great event, which includes inflatable bounce houses for the children, and a car show for the adults.
“We provide the sausages and the meats and we man the grills,” Billy said. “It’s a real family gathering. People look forward to it every year. And the children love their backpacks.”
Community Fellowship members support the students in other ways, too, volunteering in the school, passing out healthy snacks, and helping with athletic contests, for example.
And it’s not just children who benefit. The Community Fellowship assists widows in Southampton County, with members mowing the grass when it’s hot outside and helping out around the house as needed.
Billy’s community spirit is also seen in his involvement with his church, Pleasant Plains Baptist, located in his hometown of Drewryville, Va. Billy is a member of the church’s Ministry of Comfort and serves on the Usher Board. “The church is very important to me,” Billy said. “It helps me be a better person.”
Billy’s exemplary leadership and activism reflect the values of his union. “It’s great being a Local 400 member,” he said. “It helps me on the job having my union standing behind me. And that enables me—and many of my Local 400 brothers and sisters—to do what we can for our community.”