Every Plate Full: An Inspirational Challenge for the Canadian Members of IATSE

Pictured above: Members of IATSE Locals 129 and 828 and their families volunteered their time at the Hamilton Food Share.

By guest blogger Damian Petti, National Food Drive Captain, IATSE Canada

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has over 21,000 members in 39 locals across Canada. In 2015, IATSE participated in the first annual Every Plate Full Challenge. We set a goal of raising 100,000 meals and asked our individual Locals to find ways to raise funds for their local foodbanks. Our Locals met that challenge and got very creative in terms of their fundraising strategies. It’s amazing how invested our team became with the campaign. The results are a direct reflection of how the cause spoke to our organization.

The social media platforms came alive with all of the fund-raising activities that were taking place. The hashtag #IATSEcares was born and each day we saw IATSE Members actively helping Canadians facing hunger, in the communities where our members work.

We even saw some of our employers get involved with F&D Scene Changes in Calgary and Great Lakes Scenic Shop in Burlington matching and adding to contributions made by their employees. That first year, we raised over 175,000 meals and set our goal for the following year at 200,000 meals.

In 2016, we saw the majority of our Canadian Locals participating and we managed to exceed our goal and raise 230,000 meals.

Pictured: Members of Stagehand Local 58 in Toronto at one of their very successful Every Plate Full BBQs.

By 2017, most of our Locals were participating in the Ever Plate Full campaign and we saw donations come in from Vancouver Island all the way to Newfoundland! Amazingly, our third year brought more increases to cash and food donations.  Also, volunteerism increased at the individual food banks. In the end, the cumulative 3-year total was a staggering 580,000 meals raised! What a proud moment for us. It feels good to make a difference together.

At our International Convention held in July 2017, Awards were given to participating Locals who had hit certain benchmarks during the drive. 

The Every Plate Full campaign has become a very rewarding experience which also builds solidarity within our Union. I would recommend participation in EPF to other national organizations. This is an awesome way to unite under the national goal of improving our communities and the lives of Canadians living with hunger. It’s simply the most rewarding initiative available for employee engagement.

If you want to fundraise for Every Plate Full, go to www.everyplatefull.ca/teams!