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Holiday Cheer Spreads to Overseas Soldiers
MADISON, Wis. (12/16/13)--The number of shopping days is quickly dwindling as Christmas nears, but credit unions' holiday spirit continues to swell.

  • Click to view larger image Nearly 120 employees and volunteers packed boxes for more than 5,000 soldiers deployed from North Carolina. This is the fourth year that State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C., has sent holiday packages overseas. (Photo provided by State Employees' CU)
    More than 5,000 packages will be sent to North Carolina soldiers who are deployed overseas. State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C., has been collecting items for its Support the Troops program since mid-September. Nearly 120 credit union employees and volunteers filled boxes with first aid items, games, snacks, toiletries, and cards and letters from North Carolina students.

    In 2012, Army Sgt. Odaliska Almonte received one of the care packages last year and was on hand for this year's project. "The care packages were great, especially all of the cards we received from children," she said. "They were the highlight of the box and many soldiers posted them over their bunks so they would be the first thing they would see. The cards just lifted your spirits."

  • In Idaho, employees from Pioneer FCU teamed up with the Shop with a Cop program. Across the town of Mountain Home, businesses opened their doors to children, letting them purchase gifts for their families. Law enforcement, emergency service and military employees chaperoned 130 children, watching their smiles as they picked gifts for their families (Mountain Home News Dec. 13). Once the children and their "personal shoppers" were finished, credit union volunteers took over the final stages of gift wrapping. Mary Morin, a Pioneer FCU employee, has helped organize the event for the past 11 years.

  • Andrews FCU shared its spirit of giving internationally. The credit union, which is headquartered in Suitland, Md., has seven branches in the U.S. and five overseas locations. All participated in the food drive that collected more than 2,700 items for food banks and charities in their area (The Daily Exchange Dec. 10).

  • Children in Massachusetts' Central Berkshire County will have a warmer winter thanks to Greylock CU, Pittsfield, Mass. The credit union is collecting new winter hats, scarves, mittens and coats for the ELF Holiday Warm Clothing Program. Greylock CU is working with Berkshire County Action Council to distribute items to more than 600 children (The Berkshire Eagle Dec. 9)

  • Travis CU supports a number of community charities during the holidays, including the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, Opportunity House's Festival of Trees, Christmas Wish 2013 and Toys for Tots.  The Vacaville, Calif., credit union participates in Children's Miracle Network activities that help the UC Davis Medical Center and Valley Children's Hospital Central California. Proceeds from its employee craft fair go to the Heather House Homeless Shelter (The Davis Enterprise Dec. 8).

  • Twenty-five food pantries and hunger programs will receive more than $275,000 from Fox Valley, Wis., businesses and residents. The Fox Cities Chapter of Credit Unions pledged $25,000 of the initial $120,000 matching grants for the Stock the Shelves campaign (The Post-Crescent Dec. 8).

  • The 14 Southern California branches of NuVision FCU served as collection centers for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. Last year, the Huntington Beach-based credit union collected more than 10 bins of toys, and Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations L.J. Tarman said they hope to exceed that amount with this year's drive.


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