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Variety - The Children's Charity and The Teamsters

It’s late 1927 in Pittsburgh and 11 close friends have organized a social club where they could relax and unwind with good company after they’d finished their day’s work.  They decided their new Club’s main principle would simply be “friendship”.  Since the original group came from show business, they decided to call themselves “The Variety Club” and they rented a space in a local hotel for their use.

Just over one year later, on Christmas Eve, a baby was left abandoned in a nearby theatre, a theatre which happened to be owned by one of the members of the Variety Club, with a note pinned to her little dress.

 The note read:

“Please take care of my baby.  Her name is Catherine.  I can no longer take care of her.  I have eight others.  My husband is out of work.  She was born on Thanksgiving Day.  I have always heard of the goodness of show business people and I pray to God that you will look out for her.”

After extensive efforts to locate Catherine’s family proved fruitless, the fledgling Variety Club decided they had to act on her behalf and became her “godfathers” and looked after her support and education.  She was named Catherine Variety Sheridan (she was found in the Sheridan Theatre).

The Variety Club found a new meaning for its existence and, due to the ensuing media attention, interest in helping Catherine grew into a nation-wide organization whose charity was far exceeding the needs of just one child.  Therefore, it was decided that the now much larger Variety Club would work for the benefit of other children in need.

Now known as Variety – the Children’s Charity, this movement has grown to more than 40 Chapters around the world with thousands of dedicated volunteers.  In the past 80 years, Variety has raised over $1.5 billion for children and their families who are in dire need of assistance.

British Columbia’s Chapter was established in 1965 and has raised over $170 million on behalf of children of BC.

The Teamsters and Variety – a long lasting friendship

BC’s Teamsters have been associated with Variety almost since its inception.  Starting in 1966, the Teamsters Union began providing volunteers from within its membership to support Variety’s Show of Hearts Telethon in many ways.  

Back in the early days that may have meant helping to carry children and their wheelchairs up and down the stairs backstage of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, or ensuring the local band trying to find the stage in the wee hours of the morning didn’t end up getting locked outside because they were about to use the rear exit door.

Today, over 100 Teamster members and their families volunteer annually to help this amazing charity during telethon weekend.  Also, Variety – the Children’s Charity is the charity of choice for BC Teamsters, with Teamsters Joint Council 36 raising money through its annual Golf Tournament and other endeavours.  Teamsters Joint Council No. 36 donated more than $10,000 for this worthy cause in 2016. 

News Archive


"I was there when we brought the Union in. The first-time contract they won for us was unbelievable. It changed the quality of my life. I am now a Shop Steward and enjoy working with my Union and looking after my fellow workers. "

- Paul Landrecht - Shop Steward. Island Farms Dairy.

"I was employed for many years at a Teamster company that was shut down due to the economy. Because of my age, I was worried about starting over. Bobby, Bob and Paul not only negotiated a much better severance package than was in the contract, but they also went the extra mile and got me on at one of their other companies with an even better contract.They continued to help me even though it wasn't their job to."

- Armando Borean
- Dave S