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CUs catch the holiday spirit
MADISON, Wis. (12/28/07)--There was no loss of holiday spirit among credit unions this holiday season--many helped out with special community projects, or with their own employees. In addition to giving holiday bonuses, Fairwinds CU in Orlando, Fla., also granted its employees holiday wishes (Orlando Sentinel Dec. 25)
Northwest FCU, Herndon, Va., collected more than 175 new, unwrapped toys for Northern Virginia Family Services’ annual holiday toy drive. From left are: Juri Valdov, Northwest FCU president/CEO; Laura Dawson, Northwest FCU Foundation chairman; and Linda Rogus, Northwest FCU Foundation managing director. (Photo provided by Northwest FCU)
For the past five years, Fairwinds employees have posted their wishes on a company Intranet page, starting in mid-November, for all to read. President/CEO Larry Tobin, who started the Holiday Wish program, reads all the wishes--230 this year--and chooses those he thinks the credit union should fulfill. This year, the credit union granted nine employees’ holiday wishes. One recipient was Lorena Rodriguez, 22, who recently gave birth to a baby boy. Because Rodriguez’s husband remains in Mexico, she wished for the money to fly there so that the family would be together during the holidays. Smaller requests, such as an article of clothing, are often granted by co-workers or managers. This year, more than 50 Fairwinds employees used their $100 bonuses to help a co-worker burdened by debt. Other credit unions also pitched in this holiday season to help those in need. Wescom CU of Pasadena, Calif., “adopted” 150 children in Southern California. About 100 of the credit union’s employees bought 450 gifts for the children, which were distributed through local charities. Employees gave the children gift cards, clothing and toys (San Gabriel Valley Tribune Dec. 20). CU Community CU in Springfield, Mo., adopted a second-grade class at a local elementary school. The children at the school come from low-income families and most qualify for free or reduced lunches. The credit union collected $2,500 in cash and donated gifts to the children. The credit union also treated the children to a holiday party Dec. 12 with Santa and Mrs. Claus. “It’s an indescribable feeling to see the looks on their faces when they open the gifts,” said Susie Kasterke, vice president of operations (CourierNet Dec. 19).
Numerica CU, Spokane, Wash., raised $19,165 for a local charity at the credit union’s annual employee auction. Erynne Hallock, Numerica training coordinator, displays one of the items donated by an employee for the auction. (Photo provided by Numerica CU)
Credit unions also held clothing drives to collect mittens, scarves, coats and other items to help those in need. AmeriCU CU in Rome, N.Y., held a Mitten Challenge to collect gloves, hats, mittens and scarves for the Salvation Army (Post Standard/Herald-Journal Dec. 3). DuTrac Community CU and Dupaco Community CU in Dubuque, Iowa, held clothing drives for the needy. Dupaco collected more than 3,300 garments through its “Coats for Kids” drive. FirstLight FCU in El Paso, Texas, collected shoes for 242 children, and Franklin Mint FCU in Broomall, Pa., raised $1,000 for Operation Warm, which provides new winter coats for children. Members of America First CU, Ogden, Utah, donated $40,000 to charitable organizations throughout the state. Service CU in Portsmouth, N.H., donated $30,000 in gift cards to help military families. In addition to sharing gifts, credit unions also shared the message of People Helping People. United Labor CU in Kansas City distributed a holiday music CD with eight songs and a two-minute message from the credit union. The CDs were given to local labor organizations and media outlets in Kansas City. United Labor representatives gave out the CDs Dec. 14 during a holiday party, which U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-District 5) and former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes (D) attended.
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