Mark Kosinski, President, Drapery Industries, July 2017

ESWA Solar Installation

Most people have never heard of the Eastern Service Workers Association. Tiny but big hearted, ESWA has been serving as a beacon of hope and help for the working poor of our community for over forty years. The more time I spend with them the more they impress me.

ESWA is headed up by one of the most dedicated and kind-hearted individuals I have ever met – Mark Horn. With his trusted assistant, Baly Soto, and a group of committed volunteers, ESWA provides advocacy for the working poor. They are a voice for those who struggle to make ends meet, offering hope for those who feel hopeless. Add to that a food pantry and clothes distribution. At Thanksgiving and Christmas hundreds of families feel their generosity with food baskets to celebrate the holiday.

ESWA operates out of two buildings located at 234 Bay Street in Rochester. For those who may not be familiar, this area experiences one of the highest poverty rates in the entire state.

Drapery Industries first became involved with ESWA in 2006 when LeChase Construction built their new office and we helped out with the window treatments. A few years later the organization rehabbed an adjoining building and created the Benefits Office to house the food pantry and clothes closet.

The importance of ESWA and these two buildings goes far beyond their physical structure. These facilities embody the hope and aspirations of the community’s low-income workers for a better life. They are the means for low-income workers to work together to make change from the bottom up. They are a source of pride for everyone involved in ESWA’s work. Hardly a day goes by that a member, volunteer, supporter or visitor does not comment about how impressive and wonderful this place is.

ESWA must continue to be a beacon and model for change for thousands in our community and serve as an ongoing example of what we can accomplish when people work together for the common good.

ESWA Solar Installation

The solar project will have major benefits for the organization and the community as listed below:

  1. It will lower or eliminate electricity costs, freeing-up resources that can be used to directly serve the needs of the members.
  2. It will demonstrate in a very profound way that even the lowest paid workers in the community are making a strong commitment to sustainable development.
  3. The solar project is a “bold and transformative step” that demonstrates ESWA’s determination to be a leader in the process of reducing our use of fossil fuels and turning toward renewable energy.

The project carries a significant cost – approximately $90,133. Impressively, a total of $84,665 has been raised in the form of rebates and charitable contributions, leaving a shortfall of $5468 required to fill the funding gap.

Please join me in helping this wonderful organization (enjoy good beer too). We are planning a delicious beer tasting event (see invitation for more information). If not, please consider donating directly at ESWA. If you are curious and maybe a bit brave I challenge you to get in your car and pay them a visit. Mark and Baly would love to meet you and tell you more about their programs and the solar project. And who knows, you might even want to try your hand at volunteering.