MADISON, Wis. (11/23/09)--Credit unions nationwide are going above and beyond to help their communities prepare for Thanksgiving this year. Their activities range from donating hundreds of turkeys to helping save one town’s holiday celebration and parade. Service CU, Portsmouth, N.H., donated 50 turkeys to the Portsmouth Salvation Army on Thursday. The credit union’s Thursday donation brings the total number of turkeys the credit union has donated to communities near its branches to 625. Service CU also donated turkeys to its 16 branches on military bases in Germany (Seacoastonline.com Nov. 20). The credit union is planning two other holiday drives. Service has been collecting canned goods and nonperishable foods for the local food bank, and will offer a Wish Tree event where members can buy a gift for a child in need, the newspaper said. Andrews FCU, Suitland, M.D., partnered with Operation Best Wishes to sponsor free holiday voice messages for families of deployed service members. At the event, the Operation team set up a mobile webcast unit to record greetings from families and friends. Seventy-seven people taped messages for their loved ones during the event. Members Cooperative CU, Cloquet, Minn., helped to save Cloquet’s traditional “Home for the Holidays” event, which was in danger of being cancelled. Robbie Thompson, vice president and general counsel at Members Cooperative, thought it was “terrible” that the town’s celebration might go away. He asked the credit union if he could use his company time to volunteer for the event, and asked credit union President Tammy Heikkinen if Members Cooperative would be one of the event’s sponsors. She agreed to both requests (Duluth News-Tribune/Cloquet Pine Journal Nov. 3). The credit union pledged $1,000 for the event, which will take place Saturday. The celebration will offer horse-drawn trolley rides, a bonfire, parade, and food collection to help a local food bank. Virginia CU employees in Richmond recently contributed half of their workday to help at Central Virginia Foodbank. The employees sorted canned goods, pasta, rice and perishable foods like fruit and bread. Virginia food pantries and soup kitchens rely on the food bank as a source for the items they distribute. Virginia CU also donated $3,375 to the bank through employee fundraising efforts, an amount that was matched by the credit union. A group of more than 40 volunteers from Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., helped out at a Harvest for the Hungry gardens in Santa Rosa. Employees weeded, mulched, piled compost, raked, sowed, planted and performed other tasks to help the nonprofit organization, which grows and distributes about 10,000 pounds of organic fresh produce, herbs and flowers to shelters and food banks in need.