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Holiday Smiles Abound, Thanks to CUs' Generosity
MADISON, Wis. (12/31/13)--While credit unions routinely give to their communities, with donations and volunteering for local causes, children's hospitals, and more throughout the year, they go into overdrive during the holidays. Credit unions ended the year with a host of activities that made spirits bright. Here are some examples.
Click to view larger image Chartway FCU and its divisions of HeritageWest and SouthWest Community CUs held a company-wide toy drive, collecting more than 2,951 presents to benefit the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. (Photo provided by Chartway FCU)
SPIRE FCU, a $597 million asset credit union in Roseville, Minn., teamed up with its partner, NBA basketball team the Minnesota Timberwolves, to help take care of kids' needs during the holiday season, according to an interview with SPIRE FCU CEO Dan Stoltz on
The Wolves and the credit union, which have been partners for two years, took 21 youngsters awaiting adoption on $500 shopping sprees through a local Target store as part of the annual Holiday Shopping for Kids events during its month-long Season of Giving.
During the shopping event, one child said "this is the greatest day, ever,"  Stoltz told " many of us take our own homes and gifts under our tree with our names for granted? We have that every year. These kids, this was their day brightener--actually their life brightener...It was such a big day for them. It's just so great if you can impact them in some small way." He termed the event "one of the greatest give-backs we do."
Click to view larger image It was all smiles for this youngster, one of 600 students at Lincoln Elementary School to get gifts from Virginia Beach, Va.-based Chartway FCU.  Students had the opportunity to request a "need" and a "want." Among the gifts: a Christmas tree for a boy whose family couldn't afford one, and her very own pillow to a young girl.  (Photo provided by Chartway FCU).
Kids were thrilled that the basketball players got on their knees with them "eye to eye" to shop. Many bought groceries and clothes. "It just shows how thoughtful these kids are about how they spend that money," Stoltz said.
Throughout the month of December, Chartway FCU, Virginia Beach, Va., and its HeritageWest and SouthWest Community CUs divisions spread holiday magic across the country through numerous charitable drives.  The $1.93 billion asset credit union:
  • Donated 2,951 toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program;
  • Raised funds to purchase gifts through its "Christmas Wishes" program for nearly 600 students at an elementary where 90% of the students live below the poverty line;
  • Donated socks and shoes to children in the HeritageWest division's "Warm the Soles" donation drive;
  • Collected gifts for families in need through its Angel Tree drive;
  • Brought holiday cheer through its employees' annual caroling event;
  • Served as parade liaisons for the Downtown Norfolk Council's Annual Grant Illumination Parade; and
  • Raised funds through its We Promise Foundation for children battling life-threatening illnesses, enabling it to donate $924,300 to charitable organizations.
Click to view larger image Face painting and making holiday cards were on the fun agenda at Merrimack Valley FCU's We Love Santa Party in Lawrence, Mass. The holiday event raised funds for Credit Unions Kids at Heart, which benefits Boston Children's Hospital, The Joe Andruzzi Foundation and The Professional Center for Childhood Development. (Photo provided by Merrimack Valley FCU)
Non-profit organizations in Lawrence, Mass., benefited from a special family event, the second annual We Love Santa Party, hosted by Merrimack Valley FCU. The event entertained all ages and raised funds for local charities. Merrimack transformed its corporate office into Santa's Village, where children decorated ornaments, made holiday cards, played reindeer games, danced, sang and got their faces painted. Donations totaling $1,405 benefitted the Credit Unions Kids at Heart, which benefits Boston Children's Hospital, The Joe Andruzzi Foundation, and the Professional Center for Childhood Development.  Merrimack Valley focuses its community support on education, health, homelessness and youth-related causes.
Alliant CU, an $8.225 billion asset credit union in Chicago, conducted a Holiday Food Drive to benefit northwest suburban Chicago residents needing assistance. The credit union's Civic Affairs Committee coordinated the drive, which collected hundreds of non-perishable food and household items for the Maine Township Community Food Pantry. The items are distributed to people in Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Niles, Glenview, Morton Grove and Rosemont.  Alliant CU Foundation also provided a grant to help the food pantry purchase goods for those in need. "With many people still affected by difficult economic times, it's extremely important to provide assistance, especially during the holiday season," said David Mooney, Alliant CU president/CEO.
A community challenge by Northern Hills FCU, a $49 million asset credit union in Sturgis, S.D., benefitted five charities, including Northern Hills Area CASA Program, Spearfish Community Pantry, Front Porch Coalition, Crisis Intervention Shelter Service Inc., and Autism Society of the Black Hills. The annual campaign strives to save the community money in loan interest, while benefiting local charities. This year's campaign, which ran from April 24 to Dec. 13, saved members more than $1 million in loan interest.  Community members voted for the charity to receive the largest donation. NHFCU made $7,000 in donations, ranging from $3,000 to $500.
Liberty Savings FCU, Jersey City, N.J., held a gift drive for women and children of the city's York Street Project, said the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Dec. 30).  Both staff and members of the $76 million asset credit union donated toys and gifts.
Throughout December, News Now has reported  examples of credit unions' holiday and community service efforts.


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