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Making the holidays merrier--a CU tradition
Oregon Community CU employees gathered in Springfield, Ore., Dec. 3, for the 59th Annual Springfield Christmas Parade, themed  "Through the Eyes of a Child." Springfield branches of the Eugene, Ore.-based credit union displayed their holiday spirit in a Dr. Seuss-inspired float for the parade, complete with Cindy Lou Who, The Grinch and The Cat in The Hat, winning them first place in the vehicles category. (Photo provided by Oregon Community CU)
MADISON, Wis. (12/16/11)--Many credit unions nationwide are taking part in an annual credit union tradition, making the holidays merrier through events such as charitable fundraisers and donations, parades and community outreach activities.

A poll taken earlier this month by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association asked credit unions how they participate in holiday community events (Life is a Highway Dec. 8).

While the poll can't be generalized to credit unions across the nation, most credit unions will recognize the activities as events they participate in, too. The 48 individuals responding to the survey selected one or more charitable events of participation.

The results were:

  • Toys for Tots--43.8% (21 people);
  • Food donations--35.4% (17);
  • Angel/mitten tree--31.3% (15);
  • Gifts for local home/organization-- 8.3% (4);
  • Clothing drive--8.3% (4);
  • Party for Needy Children/Families--4.2% (2);
  • Other events--37.5% (18); and
  • No participation--10.4% (5).
Other credit union holiday activities include:

  • Employees and family members of Freedom CU in Warminster, Pa., along with Dollar Dog, march at the 51st Annual  Hatboro Holiday Parade in Hatboro, Pa. (Photo provided by Freedom CU)
    For a fourth consecutive year, Freedom CU in Warminster, Pa., took part in the Hatboro Holiday Parade, a tradition for the community of Hatboro, Pa., and its neighboring towns. Held on Nov. 20, the parade--now in its 51st year--drew nearly 50,000 spectators as it traveled a mile. When earlier this year it was announced that the parade faced funding challenges, the $498.7 million asset Freedom also became a Gold Sponsor of the parade, donating $500 to help with operational costs. The credit union serves the Hatboro community, with a branch location just minutes away in neighboring Warminster Township, and said it sought to help preserve the long-standing and treasured event.
  • Community Financial CU in Plymouth, Mich., announced Dec. 1 it would support local nonprofit organizations by surprising them with donations throughout December. During its "Season of Giving" conducted in the spirit of the holiday season, the $471.2 million asset credit union will donate more than $50,000 to groups in areas the credit union serves, which includes seven cities. One recipient will be announced through Community Financial's social media outlets on Facebook and Twitter each business day through Dec. 23.
  • For more than 20 years, employees of Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Ground FCU (APGFCU) have partnered with The Salvation Army and its Angel Tree program each December to provide assistance to local families in need during holidays. This year, APGFCU staff collected hundreds of new toys and gifts of clothing for area children. Through the Angel Tree program, local families in need register their children for holiday gifts through The Salvation Army. Gift-givers may choose to donate all of the items on a child's wish list or additional gifts. Once donations are collected, The Salvation Army sorts and then distributes the gifts to the families before Christmas Eve.
  • Great Lakes CU staff in Sylvania, Ohio, organize holiday presents purchased by employees throughout the credit union for delivery to One Hope United. (Photo provided by Great Lakes CU)
    Staff from Great Lakes CU (GLCU) in Sylvania, Ohio, used their personal time to shop for 75 young patrons of the charity One Hope United.  Throughout the year, the $28 million asset GLCU recycles aluminum cans and collects donations from staff for such things as "Jeans Days" and 50/50 raffles to fund the gifts. Shoppers received the child's first name, age, gender and wish list. Gifts were collected at the credit union and then delivered to One Hope United for its annual Christmas party for the kids.
  • For the sixth consecutive year, WEST-AIRCOMM FCU employees in Beaver, Pa., donated $700 for gifts to an underprivileged family. This year's record total was matched by the $179 million asset credit union for a grand total of $1,400. The employees did all the shopping and wrapping for the family of eight (Life is a Highway Dec. 13).
  • Employees of  Erie (Pa.) General Electric FCU held a holiday party for the YMCA Kids Club and presented area children with gifts that included a new entertainment center, flat screen TV, Xbox Kinect, and games purchased with the money raised this year. The Credit Union SuperFan, Bubba Luv, also joined in on the fun and presented a check for $500 to the YMCA program (Life is a Highway Dec.9).
  • Norristown Bell CU (NBCU) employees in Blue Bell, Pa., adopted a family through CADCOM's "Father's Initiative Program," helping a Dad and his children with food, clothing and gifts. Also, NBCU employees and members participated in the Lt. Patty Simmons Law Enforcement Food Drive sponsored by Norristown and other local police departments for the Salvation Army. The event stocks the pantry at local Salvation Army locations for their shelters and food assistance programs (Life is a Highway Dec. 9).
  • Texoma Community CU in Wichita Falls, Texas, received positive media attention recently for its "Tree of Life" initiative. The credit union, for the fifth consecutive year, has partnered with Adult Protection Services, to brighten the holidays for abused, neglected or underprivileged elderly people in the community. In the credit union's two lobbies, Texoma Community decorated a Christmas tree with ornaments that have cards attached. On the cards are the name of an elderly or disabled person, and a wish list (LoneStar Leaguer Dec. 8).
  • Thirty-eight employees at First Commonwealth FCU, Lehigh Valley, Pa., donated Christmas gifts for the kids at Camelot for Children. The kids, ranging in age from one to 18, will receive their gifts at Camelot's annual Christmas party. Camelot for Children is a non-profit organization where seriously, chronically and terminally ill children can meet and play (Life is a Highway Dec. 8).


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