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CUs made sure kids had good holiday

Click to view larger imageEmployee JoAnn Ruggiero (third from left) of Bethpage (N.Y.) FCU shops with children who are clients of Education & Assistance Corp. (EAC) programs as part of the 13th Annual EAC Holiday Shopping Spree sponsored by the Marie & Micheal Gubitosi Foundation.  More than 100 children were given $100 Walmart gift cards, and an hour and a half to shop with Bethpage volunteers to help them decide on toys, clothing and electronics to fulfill their holiday wish list. (Photo provided by Bethpage FCU)
MADISON, Wis. (12/27/12)--Credit unions nationwide undertook or sponsored holiday programs to make sure children had a happy holiday season.

Bethpage (N.Y) FCU, with $4.85 billion in assets, pledged its support to several children's non-profit organizations, providing toys and support to underprivileged Long Island families. For the fourth year in a row, through its "Heart of Bethpage" community outreach program, Bethpage volunteered to support Operation Jocelyn Spirit, a nonprofit organization that answers children's letters to Santa. More than 80 Bethpage employees "adopted" a local child, answered his or her letter, and fulfilled the child's holiday wish list by purchasing presents.

Bethpage also participated in the 13th annual Education & Assistance Corp. Holiday Shopping Spree, sponsored by the Marie & Micheal Gubitosi Foundation and hosted this year by Walmart's Farmingdale location. More than 200 Long Island foster children each received a $100 gift card to purchase items on their holiday list and shopped with Bethpage volunteers, who helped them make their choices of toys, clothing and electronics.

Bethpage supported two additional efforts including the John Theissen Foundation Toy Drive by placing toy collection bins in every branch. This is the 10th year Bethpage has worked with the foundation. Also, as part of the Newsday Holiday Lights Festival, sponsored by Bethpage, children and families from across Long Island created holiday cards for children admitted to Cohen's Children's Medical Center, located in New Hyde Park.   

Other examples of credit unions with the holiday spirit:

  • Click to view larger image Standing among 3,070 toys collected by employees of Virginia Beach, Va.-based Chartway FCU  are, from left: Lance Cpl. Shinequa Murray, United States Marine Corps (USMC); Stephanie Harney, Chartway regional sales support manager; Rick Richter, Chartway vice president of technology; and Lance Cpl. Michael Bersch, USMC. Chartway employees surpassed their goal of collecting 2,000 toys by more than 1,000, putting the credit union among the top five corporate contributors in Hampton Roads. (Photo provided by Chartway FCU)
    Employees and members of Chartway FCU in Virginia Beach, Va., rallied together to help ensure that thousands of needy children in Hampton Roads could wake up Christmas morning with smiles and the glee of playing with a new toy. "No child should have to go without a present and no parent should have to see the look of sadness on their child's face because for some families, holiday presents areluxuries--and food, heat, and clothing are necessities," Rick Richter, Chartway president of technology. With a goal of collecting 2,000 toys, the $1.9 billion asset credit union encouraged employees to drop off brand new toys in collection boxes at their Chartway branches. Friendly competition among departments, branches, and individuals helped push this year's drive well past all records. In surpassing its goal and donating 3,070 toys, Chartway landed among the top five corporate contributors in Hampton Roads, according to Toys for Tots.
  • Members and staff of Highmark FCU in Rapid City, S.D., and "Secret Santas" from the Black Hills community were busy bringing in gifts for each child at the Black Hills Children's Home campus in Rockerville, south of Rapid City. All gifts from the children's wish list were returned to the $86.2 million asset Highmark FCU's main office, by Dec. 17-- in time to be wrapped and labeled for the Black Hill's Children's Home Christmas Eve celebration. Several donations delivered to Highmark covered extra holiday expenses at the Children's Home. One anonymous donor, who was physically unable to shop for gifts, sent in $400. The staff at Highmark FCU also pitched in to build on that donation. The extra funds covered any last minute gift and additional holiday needs at the home.
  • For more than 20 years, employees of Aberdeen Proving Ground FCU (APGFCU) in Edgewood, Md., have partnered with The Salvation Army and its Angel Tree program each December to provide assistance to local families during the holiday season. Staff at the $932 million asset APGFCU collected hundreds of new toys, bikes and clothing for children in Harford County. Through the Angel Tree program, local families in need registered their children for Christmas gifts through The Salvation Army. Gift-givers could choose to donate all of the items on a child's wish list or additional gifts. Once donations were collected, The Salvation Army sorted and distributed the gifts to the families before Christmas Eve.
  • Click to view larger imageThe staff at Highmark FCU in Rapid City, S.D.,  presented a check for $500 to Theresa Schreiner, volunteer program and development coordinator, Black Hills Children's Home, to help cover holiday expenses. (Photo provided by Highmark FCU)
    Three Connecticut credit union chapters--the Hartford Chapter, the New Haven Chapter, and the Moran/Nixon Chapter--joined forces to celebrate the holidays with a gathering that featured business meetings and reports, a sitdown feast, holiday entertainment, and contributions of unwrapped toys for the U.S. Marines' traditional Toys for Tots program. The 10th consecutive get-together in Plantsville, was attended by 173 guests from 22 credit unions, who donated hundreds of toys and a record $1,830 in cash from chapter coffers and raffle ticket sales for the toy collection program (Record-Journal Dec. 26).

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