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CUs Get Into Holiday Spirit Nationwide
MADISON, Wis. (12/6/13)--Small or large, near or far, credit union efforts to spread the message of "people helping people" grow even stronger during the holidays.

Click to view larger image Larry Jackson, president/COO of CU Companies, New Brighton, Minn., shows the final total of the interstate food drive among three credit union service organizations. Houston-based CU Alliance and CU Community in Oak Ridge, Tenn., challenged CU Companies, and local food pantries were the winners. (Photo provided by CU Companies)
A Minnesota credit union service organization (CUSO) led the charge in an interstate fight against hunger. CU Companies, New Brighton, Minn., went up against the team of Houston-based CU Alliance and CU Community in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The challenge? Who could collect the most food during a month-long food drive.

This is the ninth year for the food drive challenge between CU Alliance and CU Companies. This year, CU Community joined forces with CU Alliance to even the number of employees participating. The end result was 7,661 items, distributed among the CUSOs' respective community food pantries. "Bringing our CUSOs together to help our individual communities in an extension of our intentions to help each other fill a need in the financial realm," said Adrian Dominguez, CU Alliance president/CEO.
  • In Austin, Texas, a 76-year-old widow will benefit from the connection made between a credit union employee and the community. Jenny Voigt, an employee at Amplify CU, volunteers for Family Eldercare, a program that helps elderly who have limited resources. Family Eldercare, and by extension the credit union, were selected as part of the Austin American-Statesman's Season for Caring campaign (Dec. 2). The $626 million-asset credit union has adopted families in past Seasons of Caring. Because of Voigt's relationship with Ethel Black through Eldercare, Voigt made a case for the credit union to help her specifically.  Now, the credit union is working to help make Black's home safer, with repairs to uneven flooring, ceiling and fencing.
  • A pediatric unit in Yakima, Wash.,  got a new set of wheels thanks to Solarity CU. The $499 million-asset credit union presented $22,000 and a wagon filled with toys to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. The unit will use the Radio Flyer wagon for field trips, and the toys will help make children's stays a little brighter ( Dec. 3).
  • Three Wisconsin credit unions are among the sponsors for the Oshkosh Celebration of Lights along the shores of Lake Winnebago. Visitors will drive through the display of twinkling lights for free on four evenings this holiday season (Oshkosh Northwestern Nov. 24). The 2013 Community Nights sponsors are Community First CU, Appleton, $1.8 billion assets; Fox Communities CU, Appleton, $947 million assets; and Winnebago Community CU, Oshkosh, $78 million assets.
  • Alabama Telco CU, Hoover, Ala., is working with the Cell Phones for Soldiers group this holiday season. Members started donating used cell phones before the program was officially launched , according to Stanton Davis, vice president of the $606 million-asset credit union (The Birmingham News Nov. 17). Proceeds from the recycling program go to the purchase of 60-minute pre-paid phone cards that go to service members.
Credit unions can share their stories about demonstrating the credit union difference on the Unite for Good website.

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