Point Loma Credit Union, Oceanside, Calif., celebrated its five-year anniversary with Santa Claus, children's book readings and collecting new, unwrapped toys for the children of deployed military personnel. The toys were distributed by the Oceanside Rewards the Working Service Forces, a nonprofit service organization. Santa Claus made an appearance at the credit union to pass out gifts and pose for pictures. Chuck E. Cheese also made an appearance. Local children's author Geraldine Lewis read from her latest book, Popsi, the Daughter of Mother Nature. Children also decorated cookies, created holiday crafts and entered a coloring contest.
Northeast Credit Union, Portsmouth, N.H., made a $4,550 donation to the New Hampshire Food Bank. The total donation was based on $25 for every Northeast employee, volunteer and board member.
Altura Credit Union, Riverside, Calif., launched a food drive to help supplement the greater needs of families this holiday season. Canned food and other nonperishable food donations were accepted at all 16 Altura branches. The credit union had heard reports that requests at food banks around the country are up 30% to 40% due to the economy.
Community Trust Credit Union, Gurnee, Ill., donated $1,000 to the Fox Lake/Round Lake Rotary toy drive. For 35 years the rotary has supplied needy children with a holiday toy and a hot meal at the George Watson Memorial Rotary children's Christmas party. This year, organizers learned that Toys For Tots changed its policy for distributing toys and would not provide toys for the party. The rotary solicited local businesses for donations of toys and money to help fill the need, as a result they were able to provide gifts for 500 underprivileged children.
The Golden 1 Community Credit Union, Sacramento, Calif., contributed food donations and a $5,000 check to the Sacramento Food Bank CEO Blake Young. The Golden 1 placed collection bins in each of its 77 branches and in its Sacramento-based operations center. The credit union ran the food bank to assist food banks throughout the state that are in need of donations for the holiday season.
Financial Partners Credit Union, Downey, Calif., granted the Christmas wishes of 200 Navajo and Hopi Indian children in grades K-6 who live at the Kaibeto Boarding School in Kaibeto, Ariz. The children sent their names, ages and Christmas wishes to the credit union. Financial Partners employees signed up to adopt a child or children to help fulfill the Christmas wishes. The gift donation was part of Project Love, an organization that provides holiday gifts to Indian children living on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico and grants college scholarships to Hopi and Navajo youth.
American Heritage Federal Credit Union, Philadelphia, had nearly 3,500 people at its office campus to kick-off the holiday season. The credit unions second annual grand illumination opened with a patriotic entrance of colors courtesy of the Philadelphia Fire and Drum Corps and was followed by a concert of seasonal songs performed by the Philadelphia Boys Choir. A Ben Franklin impersonator led the countdown to the lighting of the credit union's 40-foot Christmas tree. The event ended with a fireworks symphony set to the music of the HBO miniseries "John Adams."
South Division Credit Union, Evergreen Park, Ill., is supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's annual thanks and giving campaign now through the end of the year. The credit union invited members, friends and families to stop by any of the seven Chicago-area branches to learn about the cancer research and patient services provided by St. Jude's. Last year the credit union raised awareness for the cause and nearly $500 for St. Jude Children's Research.
WestStar Credit Union, Las Vegas, sponsored its first tree in the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village. The 20-foot tree took volunteers two-and-a-half hours to decorate with large silver, red and Santa ornaments. Silver ribbon adornments were hung from the branches and a large Santa star was placed at the top. A WestStar Credit Union was also placed underneath the tree. The tree stands at the entrance of Opportunity Village. Visitors can walk through the village and enjoy holiday food, rides, attractions, booths and visit with Santa Claus. WestStar donated $1,000 for the sponsorship. Proceeds from the donations and Magical Forest visitors help finance the village, which is a not-for-profit organization that provides occupational training for intellectually disabled individuals.
Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, Groton, Conn., employees participated in the Santa Anonymous Winter Boot Project. The project collects hundreds of pairs of boots annually for low-income children in eastern Connecticut and asked Charter Oak employees for help in collecting and wrapping boots. Employees from the Dayville and Niantic branches had originally expected to donate 30 pairs of boots but at the end had a total of 74 pairs of boots to donate.
BestSource Credit Union, Waterford, Mich., collected ornaments made by students from their art teachers of the Waterford School District. The ornaments are on display at the credit union's Waterford branch on a 12-foot tree. BestSource held a tree lighting reception for the students, their families and the Waterford Board of Education to celebrate the young artists. Each student artists received a gift as well as food and refreshments.
Saugus Federal Credit Union, Wakefield, Mass., employees donated items for nine holiday baskets filled with food and related items to local families in need. The baskets were distributed through Saugus Community Policing with the help of Saugus Animal Control Officer Harry Young and Sergeant Michael Stewart. Executive Vice President Deirdre Festa and President John Smolinksy prepared the baskets for distribution. This is the 18th consecutive year that employees have provided the food for the baskets they prepare.
Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa, Calif., is sponsoring holiday food and toy donation programs for all of its Bay Area branch locations. Branches have been collecting new, unwrapped toys and nonperishable food items for distribution through local nonprofit agencies.
Advance Financial Federal Credit Union, Schererville, Ind., completed its annual food for thought food drive to support the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. The credit union also solicited cash donations from members and offered its employees the chance to wear jeans on certain days if they made a nonperishable food item or a $2 donation. The event resulted in the donation of several hundred food items and nearly $350 in cash.
Affinity Federal Credit Union, Basking Ridge, N.J., teamed up with Flemington Area Food Pantry Inc. to feed over 30 needy families a Thanksgiving dinner as a result of a month-long food drive. Donations were collected at all of Affinity's 19 branches. In addition to the 30 meals, the credit union also made a $320 donation to the Food Pantry.
HAPO Community Credit Union, Richland, Wash., employees will host 14 local families this holiday season. HAPO employees work together in a voluntary effort to host families during the holidays each year. HAPO staff raises money through various activities, such as bake sales and raffles and then purchases the items each family needs. The families are located through Lutheran Community Services. HAPO employees all agreed that their favorite part of the annual event is delivering the gifts and seeing the looks on recipients' faces.
Leominster Credit Union, Leominster, Mass. participated in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots campaign for the 16th consecutive year. As one of this year's sponsor's, Leominster placed large bins in each of its offices for donations of new, unwrapped toys. The donations are regularly transported by Marine Reservists and volunteers to a central warehouse, where toys are sorted by age and gender appropriateness.
GFA Federal Credit Union, Gardner, Mass., collected nonperishable food items in its branches to benefit families during the holiday season. Members, staff and volunteers donated food to charitable groups in each of the branch's local community. GFA also has been collecting toys in its branches to benefit children in need during the holiday season. The toys collected are distributed through service organizations to local children.