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Gift program for kids hospitalized over Christmas gets $12,124 boost from Teamsters Joint Council 13

Largest single donation ever to bring joy to hospitalized young children

 St. Louis – Teamsters Joint Council 13 is going to make a lot of children stuck in the hospital over this Christmas season a lot happier with the largest cash donation ever given to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation for Snowflake Village.

teamsters photo 1The $12,124 donation was raised at the Joint Council’s 1st Annual Dan McKay Memorial Bass Tournament held earlier this year. The donation was presented to Snowflake Village Children’s Hospital Special Events Coordinator Kathryn Lodes and Lauren Warner at the Council’s meeting last month by Joint Council President Marvin Kropp and officers of affiliated Teamsters locals.

Snowflake Village is the ingenious creation of St. Louis Children’s Hospital to help their young patients who are confined over Christmas still have a joyful holiday. Visiting siblings also get a gift. Launched last year, the Village becomes a free shopping bazaar for parents to be able to select and wrap a gift to give their children for Christmas, a gift they might not get otherwise often because of a family’s financial circumstances.

And for children who are alone with no visitors, the nurses serve as pseudo parents and wrap gifts for them. If they are able, the children are often allowed to come into the Village and pick their own toy.


Children’s Hospital Special Events Coordinator Kathryn Lodes Said the Teamster’s gift was the single largest donation they had ever received and they were “overwhelmed by the union’s generosity.”

The Joint Council learned of Snowflake Village last Christmas from retired teamster and Missouri State Representative Bob Burns who told the Labor Tribune he’s always had a dream about taking a truck load of gifts and people to a children’s hospital over Christmas. After working in the legislature with a hospital representative, he saw the chance to make the dream come true.


Burns reached out to Kropp about Teamster’s support for Snowflake Village. After hearing about the wonderful work Snowflake Village does for families of sick children spending Christmas in the hospital, Burns invited Kropp, Council Vice President Mike Goebel (secretary-treasurer Teamsters Local 688), Mike Louis, then secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO and Merri Berry, director of organizing/political affairs for UFCW Local 655, to visit the hospital with him. After the visit, they immediately signed onto his dream.

Between the unions and personal donations, they quickly raised $3,100 and bought gifts for Snowflake Village. On Christmas Eve they all went to Children’s Hospital to help wrap the gifts for the children. Burns legislative assistant Patrick Mulcahy joined them.

“It was a very moving experience to see the joy of the children when they received their gifts. So when picking a charity for the bass tournament, Snowflake Village was our first choice,” Kropp said.


“It’s a dream come true that once again shows that unions not only set the standards for wages and benefits, but for benevolence as well,” Burns said proudly.

“We look forward to partnering with Snowflake Village in our future charity bass tournaments,” Kropp added. “Teamsters Joint Council 13 would like to thank everyone who made a contribution to this great cause and to all the hard work that everyone put into this event to make it such a huge success! If you missed this year’s tournament, be sure to get involved next year.”

The tournament memorializes Dan McKay, retired Joint Council president (Teamster Local 600 president) who died in 2011.

FOR KIDS IN THE HOSPITAL AT CHRISTMAS, Teamsters Joint Council 13 raised $12,124 for St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Snowflake Village which is a free shopping bazaar for families to pick gifts for their children who must be in the hospital over Christmas. Presenting the money for this Christmas’ Village gifts is Council 13 President Marvin Kropp to Children’s Hospital’s Special Events Coordinator Kathryn Lodes. Participating were (from left) Participating were (from left) Local 618 Trustee Clint Hankins, Local 610 Trustee John Miller, Local 618 Trustee Mike Ham, Local 688 Principal Officer Mike Goebel, Local 610 Principal Officer Mike Lieser, Local 610 President Jeff Hall, State Representative Bob Burns, Local 600 Principal Officer Larry Tinker, Dianne Burns, Local 833 Principal Officer Mark Bruemmer, Kropp, Local 618 Recording Secretary Tom Cole, Lodes, Local 600 Secretary-Treasurer Scott Gilchrist, Local 618 Vice President Derek Kropp, Local 682 Vice President Dave Absher, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Lauren Warner, Local 682 Trustee  Mike Motsinger, Local 688 Business Agent Pat Raftery, Local 688 Vice President Roland Lewis, and Local 600 Trustees Mike Grzyb and John Ketting. –Teamsters Joint Council 13 photo by Kate McKay.

A HOLDAY LIDAY BAZAAR at St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Snowflake Village for children confined at St. Louis Children’s Hospital over Christmas allows visiting parents to ensure their hospitalized kid(s) have a Christmas gift. The parents and volunteers wrap gifts, often specifically chosen by the children themselves. Visiting siblings also get a gift. – Screen capture, Snowflake Village video. – Teamsters Joint Council 13 photo by Kate McKay.

teamsters photo 3

FIRST VISIT LAST YEAR WAS ALL IT TOOK to convince Teamsters Joint Council 13 to get behind St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Snowflake Village. Discovering the tremendous joy brought to children hospitalized during Christmas 2013 were, from left, Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis, Teamsters 688 Secretary-Treasurer Mike Goebel, UFCW Local 655 Director of Organizing/Political Affairs Merri Berry, Joint Council 13 President Marvin Kropp (secretary-treasurer Local 618) and State Representative Bob Burns who initiated the visit.


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