It was in the winter of 2013. The weather was brutally cold and snow was on the ground. A young woman working in the salad bar at Giant #123 in Temple Hills, Md., had fallen on hard times and lost her home. Fortunately, her UFCW 400 shop steward was Bernadette Hopkins-Christian. “I walked up to her,” Bernadette said, “and asked, ‘Where are you going to stay tonight? It’s cold, you can’t stay outside.’ I told her she can stay at my home—we have an extra room in the basement with a bathroom. She lived with us for two and a half years. Now, she’s doing well. She has her own apartment with a friend and is back on her feet.” Bernadette, who works as a cashier at Giant #123, wasn’t done with her extraordinary acts of generosity. When another co-worker found himself in a similar situation, she put him up in her Clinton, Md. home for a year. Most recently, Bernadette opened her home to a third co-worker for a year and a half, before she was able to get housing and live independently. Bernadette takes the same approach in her work as shop steward at Giant. She’s always been active in her union and was a member of the Contract Action Team during bargaining in 2016, organizing and participating in rallies and store actions. “It was exciting and very moving to be involved,” she said. “You don’t think people pay attention, but our customers sure did, because we are their families, too.”
Read more here. And click here to find out how you can help fellow area union members through the Metro Washington Council’s Community Services Agency. photo: Bernadette Hopkins-Christian (right) poses for a photo with fellow shop steward Christine Mitchell after both received awards in recognition of their service.