Labour Legend: Meet Steve

“I believe in the single person making a difference,” says Steve Abdey, President,  St Thomas & District Labour council and supporter of Go with the Flow, United Way’s feminine hygiene product drive. “Don’t take on what’s happening in the world,” he says, “take on what’s happening in your neighbourhood.”

Go with the Flow is asking people to donate feminine hygiene products throughout March. Often absent on the shelves of food banks and other social service agencies, these products are an urgent need for women experiencing homelessness and poverty. The issue of access is something Steve is working to bring into the public eye.

“I’m happy to support Go with the Flow,” says Steve. “I’m married and have four children, three of them daughters. Affordable feminine hygiene products are a big issue. Frankly it’s a human rights issue.”

Go with the Flow was inspired by Tampon Tuesday which began in London in 2009 when local CTV media personality Mandi Fields noticed there were no feminine hygiene products at her local food bank. The next month, over 20 women came together for the first ever event, bringing a box of tampons as the price of admission. This year in partnership with United Way and the Canadian Labour congress   Tampon Tuesday went across the country to 29 cities with over 53,671 items donated so far in support of women.

United Way will host the first Tampon Tuesday in St. Thomas on March 20.

Local passion, local power

Born in St. Thomas and a graduate of Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, Steve believes in the power of his community to end local poverty and homelessness. As a member of Labour United and employed at Community Living Elgin, he’s been helping people his entire career.

“If we let people fall through the cracks, it’s going to come back to us,” says Steve. “It’s easy to sit at home and look the other way – until someone rummages through your car or breaks into your garage at night.”

“No one grows up wanting to live in poverty but they fall through the cracks. United way is part of fixing those cracks.”

In Elgin County, United Way funds over 30 local programs. Experienced volunteers review applications and money raised from the community is invested in local programs through a detailed allocations process.

As a returning Board Member of United Way, Steve knows firsthand the impact United Way has on his community.

“United Way seeks to build the fabric of support running through the community, one person at a time,” says Steve, noting that all dollars raised stay in the community. “It’s an incredibly important organisation.”

Dakota HalfpennySteve