More than 800 families received food, backpacks for their children and diapers at a drive-through food distribution Monday that replaced the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition Parade to mark Labor Day for the second consecutive year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Labor of Love” food distribution event at Banning Park in Wilmington also included 117 people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, according to Ulisses Sanchez of Labor Community Services which conducted the distribution in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Labor Coalition and South County Labor, AFL-CIO.

Labor Community Services is a nonprofit organization that has been assisting unemployed and underemployed union families with groceries for more than six decades in partnership with Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, including providing food assistance to approximately 150,000 families in Southern California since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Sanchez said.

Labor Day, the yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the nation, was first celebrated in the United States on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City.

In 1887, Oregon became the first state to formally recognize Labor Day. By 1894, 31 of the then-44 states had made Labor Day a holiday when Congress passed a bill designating the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and territories.

In his Labor Day proclamation, President Joe Biden wrote, “On this Labor Day, we honor the pioneers who stood up for the dignity of working people — leaders like César Chávez, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., A. Phillip Randolph, John L. Lewis, Samuel Gompers, Frances Perkins and many more.

“We must recommit ourselves to advancing the historic progress these trailblazers made as we work to deliver a decent life with security, respect, and dignity for all.”

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