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CUs holiday food drives make sure theres plenty
MADISON, Wis. (12/21/09)--With the tough economy adding pressure to food banks across the nation, credit unions took steps to help ensure no one goes hungry during the holidays. Beginning with Thanksgiving collections, many have continued collecting food items throughout this month so many can have a holiday meal on Friday. Here's a sampling of what credit unions have done:
* Credit Unions Care Foundation of Virginia made a $10,000 donation to food banks and
Click to view larger image Security Service FCU volunteers help sort more than one million pounds of food collected in the seventh annual Food4SA campaign in San Antonio. From left are Victoria Keller, Joe Rodriguez, Lisa Gambill, Megan Gwinn, Mary Valdez and Melissa De Hoyos. The credit union and media partners News 4 WOAI, Magic 105.3 FM and the San Antonio Express-News collected the amount in four weeks for the San Antonio Food Bank. The collection will make 834,000 meals for needy families. The food bank, which already provides food for 25,000 people facing emergency or financial calamity each week, reported a 35% hike in first-time families asking for help. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU)
the Salvation Army to distribute to all areas of the state. "The economy has strained our communities and limited resources. Our foundation has made it possible to help in this time of need by donating a total of $5,000 to food banks across the Commonwealth and $5,000 to support the Salvation Army's work in Virginia," said Gerrianne Burkes, president/CEO of Herndon, Va.-based Northwest FCU and chairman of the foundation. * First CU (Chandler, Ariz.) members and employees donated nearly 800 pounds of non-perishable food for local food banks in Tucson, Flagstaff, Chandler and Mesa. The food is equivalent to 614 meals. "This year more than ever folks are struggling," said Desiree Hoogerhuis, community outreach coordinator. * More than 65 of Troy, Mich.-based Genisys CU employees, family members and friends helped pack 300 food boxes at the Baldwin Center for Thanksgiving Day dinner. Today they will repeat the act, helping pack an estimated 300 more boxes for Friday's holiday meal (Michigan Monitor Dec. 7).
Click to view larger image Louisiana Credit Union League staff compiled gift bags with food items for more than 200 homeless people in the New Orleans area. The project, which will benefit the homeless ministry at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, honors the late Carolyn C. Ricks, former LCUL compliance director, who initiated the league's annual outreach projects many years ago. From left are: Jennifer Green, assistant vice-president); Courtney Miceli, EFT/compliance specialist; Jill Kitchens, director of education; Shannon Morneault, accountant; Jennifer Plaisance, senior accountant; Angela Gervais; and Christopher Johnson, network specialist. (Photo provided by the Louisiana Credit Union League)
* Altura CU, based in Riverside, Calif., launched a canned food drive the first week of December to help local food banks, schools and non-profit organizations. The staff at each branch selected a local organization to help. The donations were collected through Saturday at all 14 branches. "News reports have confirmed that food banks and other charities that provide food items have seen a huge increase in requests, sometimes with record numbers turning out," said Cindy Thomas, regional director at Altura. * Cabrillo CU, San Diego,
Click to view larger image Numerica CU, Spokane, Wash. contributed more than $14,000 to the KREM 2 (CBS) Tom's Turkey Drive to raise food and donations for 2nd Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest. The two day event surpassed its goal to collect 10,000 turkeys/meals for its 10th anniversary. Numerica's contribution involved a $12,000 sponsorship, a $1,500 contribution at the Volunteer Kickoff and $2,000 during the live drive. This year for the first time, Numerica conducted a T-shirt Design Contest for youth in kindergarten through 12th grade. Here, from left, Dennis Cutter, Numerica president/CEO, and Tom Sherry, KREM2 chief meteorologist, present Abigail Swanson with a $100 savings account for her winning design. (Photo provided by Numerica CU)
also heard that food donations were down this year and rallied to help. More than $300 of food items were donated by 60 employees to St. Vincent De Paul food bank. "This year we realized a food drive before the holidays season begins would help the local food bank immensely, so we asked staff to bring a non-perishable food item to our staff meeting," said Anne Legg, vice president of marketing. * In November, staff and members were so generous that North Districts Community CU, Gibsonian, Pa., had to make three trips from the credit union to The Lighthouse Pantry in nearby Butler with goods collected during its food drive (Life is a Highway Dec. 4). It's now in the middle of a "Keep Them Warm" clothing drive to benefit the Light of Life Mission in Pittsburgh. * In Missouri, credit unions across the state went above and beyond. Among the credit unions participating in holiday drives, including food drives, were Show Me CU, Mexico; Gateway Metro FCU, St. Louis; Anheuser-Busch Employees' CU, St. Louis, Vantage CU, Bridgeton; and American Eagle CU, St. Louis (The Missouri difference Dec. 16).
Food wasn't the only thing on the holiday agenda for many of the credit unions. For example, on Thursday, all Wausau, Wis.-based Connexus CU employees spread good cheer in the community with a number of volunteer activities. They included packaging and delivering more than 3,500 non-perishable food items to local pantries, caroling for residents of a hospice house; preparing, serving and cleaning up after lunch at the Salvation Army; wrapping gifts for United Way's Bundle of Joy program; transporting and organizing gifts for the Neighbors Place; ringing bells for the Salvation Army; and playing bingo with residents of Harmony House.


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