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CUs holiday efforts continue to fight hunger (11/28/2011)
MADISON, Wis.  (11/29/11)--The national day of giving thanks and gorging is over. Thanks to many credit unions' efforts some people unable to get a decent meal or get home for the holidays were able to celebrate the holiday with food, and food pantries' shelves were replenished.

Here are a few examples of what credit unions did to help.

  • Staff from Great Lakes CU, North Chicago, hosted its "Giving Dinner" in
    Click to view larger image Employees and family members of Great Lakes CU, North Chicago, served a free "Giving Dinner" Nov. 20 at the Greenbelt Cultural Center  to about 300 low-income and homeless individuals and families in the area. (Photo provided by Great Lakes CU)
    partnership with the Lake County Forest Preserve District at the Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago, Ill. The free holiday buffet fed about 300 low-income and homeless individuals in the area who were encouraged to attend the event by local missions and shelters. Live entertainment, games and storytelling for kids, and singing performances were among the highlights at the dinner. Great Lakes CU members and staff also donated coats, hats and warm clothing, which were distributed to individuals and families in need as part of the credit union's "Warmth Drive."
  • Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va., sponsored and provided a catered Thanksgiving dinner Thursday for 70 soldiers who were unable to go home during the holidays on Fort Belvoir. Employees and their families arrived Thanksgiving evening to serve the traditional holiday dinner: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, macaroni and cheese, rolls, and assorted desserts.
  • Postal CU (PCU), Woodbury, Minn., donated $6,000 for Thanksgiving to local food shelves in the communities it serves through the PCU Community Foundation. Food shelves in Eagan, Hugo, North St. Paul, West St. Paul and Woodbury each received $1,000.  Also, the credit union asked its members to vote online for food shelves in the state through Nov. 30. The winning food shelf will receive an additional $1,000.  "We hear from food shelf coordinators and volunteers that need is greater than ever and they often struggle to keep up with the demand," said PCU President Russ Plunkett. "We thought Thanksgiving would be a good time to express our thanks to our members for their ongoing support of important causes, and ask for help in restocking local food shelves during this busy holiday season."
  • The Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger  will be the recipient of funds raised this week through an online auction of books signed by Maine's leading authors as part of the first annual Online Literary Auction to Fight Hunger. Authors have signed 47 books for the event, coordinated by Islandport Press, a Maine publisher, said the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update Nov. 25). They include Richard Russo, Tess Gerritsen, Chris Van Dusen, Gerry Boyle, Colin Woodard and Paul Doiron. The first book to be auctioned Monday was Russo's That Old Cape Magic. For more detail, go to Islandport's website
  • Board members and staff at Luso American CU, Peabody, Mass., volunteered
    Staff and board members of Luso American CU served food at the Haven From Hunger in Peabody, Mass., last week. They included, from left: Luciano Dinis, Maria Melo, Carlos Pinto, and Alfonso Barcamonte. (Photo provided by LUSO American CU)
    their services at Haven From Hunger the Monday before Thanksgiving.  "In difficult times like these, it is good to be committed to supporting local non-profits, and we are passionate about the work that Haven From Hunger does for our community," said Luso American Manager Ivone Silva. "We think this is one small way we can reinforce the credit union philosophy of people helping people." The Haven From Hunger is a privately funded non-profit organization that  provides a nightly meal to anyone struggling financially. It is now the largest food pantry on the North Shore of Massachusetts, serving many communities.
  • Gulf Winds FCU, Pensacola, Fla., presented $25,000 to help non-profit food bank
    Click to view larger image Gulf Winds FCU, Pensacola, Fla., presented $25,000 to help MANNA feed the hungry on Nov. 23 at its "Fill the Mayflower" Holiday Food Drive.  From left are Brent Lane of Cat Country 98.7 and president of MANNA; Jay Bradshaw of Coastal Moving & Storage/ Pensacola Moving & Storage and MANNA board member; The Cat Country Cat;  Fred Houston, board chairman, Gulf Winds: DeDe Flounlacker, executive director, MANNA; Chris Rutledge, president/CEO, Gulf Winds; and Gulf Winds Board members Larry Maltby, Ozzie Oswald, Shelly Fountain and Gerald Eady.  (Photo provided by Gulf Winds FCU)
    MANNA feed the hungry at its "Fill the Mayflower" Holiday Food Drive on Nov. 23. "We are experiencing unprecedented demands in service and have had a food shortage," said MANNA Executive Director DeDe Flounlacker. "This generous donation by Gulf Winds literally had our team jumping up and down with excitement because we know the impact it will have on our efforts and the communities we serve." Gulf Winds President/CEO Chris Rutledge noted that "MANNA is doing important work in our community and we wanted to help" it continue its mission.
  • Credit unions across Texas took hunger on in October, celebrating International Credit Union Day on Oct. 20 by "Collaborating to Fight Hunger" with the Texas Credit Union League ( Nov. 22). Early reports indicated credit unions raised thousands of pounds of food for food banks and tens of thousands of dollars to help local hunger organizations provide meals. The Pineywoods Chapter of Credit Unions collected 1,500 pounds of food to help East Texas families, while the Fort Worth Chapter presented the Tarrant Area Food Bank with funding and 650 pounds of food.  The El Paso Chapter showed up with a truck bed full of food and  $500 for the Rescue Mission.


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