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Let the holiday food drives begin
Wis. (11/21/11)--With the nation celebrating Thanksgiving this week and the rest of the
Mary Yasui-Yamabe (right), board chair of Kinecta Alternative Financial Solutions (doing business as Nix Financial), helps pass out bags of food during the 38th Annual Nix/Kinecta Holiday Food Drive that Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif.,  helped host  Nov. 13 in Los Angeles. (Photo provided by Kinecta FCU)
holiday season just around the corner, credit unions across the country are pitching in to combat hunger by helping stock food pantries and coordinate food drives.

Some examples are:

  • Kinecta FCU, Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Nix Financial hosted the 38th Annual Holiday Food Drive, Nov. 13 at Jesse Owens Park, Los Angeles. Employees from the $3.43 billion asset credit union distributed bags of food and $65 Ralphs/Food 4 Less gift certificates to nearly 1,200 families. Each year, more than 40 community organizations and churches in Southern California partner with Kinecta and Nix to select recipients for the food drive. Donations made by Kinecta members and Nix customers helped raise thousands of dollars for the event.
  • Presenting $500 to each of six area food pantries in an annual holiday tradition for Holy Rosary Regional CU (HRCU) in Rochester, N.H., are, from left, Brian Hughes, president/CEO, HRCU; Kathy Radwan, Farmington Food Pantry; Susan Ford, Homeless Center for Strafford County; Kathy Ford, Homeless Center for Strafford County Board of Directors; Torey Kortz, SHARE Fund in Rochester; Judy Strate, Somersworth SHARE Fund; Patricia Vachon, Community Food Pantry in Somersworth; David Vachon, Community Food Pantry in Somersworth; Darrin Janakis, Dover Food Pantry; and Dana Flanders, HRCU board chairman. (Photo provided by HRCU)
    Brian Hughes, president/CEO of Holy Rosary Regional CU (HRCU) in Rochester, N.H., and Dana Flanders, HRCU chairman of the board, Friday presented $500 to each of six area food pantries: Community Food Pantry in Somersworth, N.H., Dover (N.H.) Food Pantry, Farmington (N.H.) Food Pantry, the Homeless Center for Strafford (N.H.) County, the SHARE Fund in Rochester and the Somersworth SHARE Fund. This has become an annual holiday tradition for the entire HRCU staff. Providing for local area food pantries gives the staff and members of HRCU a sense of satisfaction and community especially during these times of need, HRCU said. "Every year the need is greater," Hughes said. "And, while the economy remains challenging for many, we're proud to make contributions that can help those who are less fortunate. We hope that by giving this money on behalf of our members again this year, our credit union will bring some joy to the lives of many local residents."
  • Rochester Hills, Mich., Mayor Bryan K. Barnett, holding the plaque, presents the Community First Award to Lon Bone, left, vice president of public relations and community involvement, Genisys CU; Genisys CEO Jackie Buchanan; Keri Marentette, Rochester Hills (Crooks) branch manager, and Sarah Slusher, Rochester Hills (Avon) branch manager. The award was presented after staff chipped in and bought groceries for a local handicapped senior citizen. (Photo provided by Genisys CU)
    The City of Rochester Hills, Mich., recently presented Genisys CU, Auburn Hills, Mich., with the Community First Award, recognizing the $1.35 billion asset credit union for its acts of volunteerism and community service. During a time of great financial difficulty, a Rochester Hills senior citizen was unable to buy groceries for more than four weeks. She could not meet her living expenses, pay for medication and still have enough money left to buy food. Also, the woman is handicapped, leaving her unable to access a neighborhood emergency food program. When the staff at Genisys heard of her situation, they pooled their own money to buy groceries for her and delivered them to her home (Michigan Monitor Nov. 14).
  • The 10th annual Maine Credit Unions' Ending Hunger Walking Tour is making the rounds of Maine communities and also attracting positive attention along the way, according to the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update Nov. 10). The tour began with a pre-walk kick-off at Penobscot County FCU in Old Town Oct. 27, then officially started a day later at Maine State CU in Augusta. Brenda Davis, who, along with the league's Social Responsibility Committee, founded the walk in 2002, is reporting an increased awareness of the tour and a favorable reception in each community she visits. The tour has also attracted several TV, radio and newspaper stories and encouraged people to get involved. As of Nov. 11, the tour had stopped in 36 communities and contributed more than $4,000 to local food pantries. By the time it ends Nov. 30, the tour will visit a record-setting 75 communities. "It's difficult time for everyone," said Jon Paradise, the league's governmental and public affairs manager. "A lot of people are having to turn to a food pantry, especially for the holidays, and that makes it more difficult if you want to have a holiday for children. This is a way for Maine credit unions to come together to help those who are going through a difficult time."
  • Texas Trust CU in Mansfield, Texas, said it will give up to $25,000 to the North Texas food bank. For every pound of food that was donated online or at its branches between Nov. 1 and Nov. 19, the $671 million asset credit union will donate $1 to the food bank. Because each dollar donated can purchase three meals, a $25,000 donation will provide 75,000 meals. Also, the anticipated 25,000 pounds of donated food will yield roughly another 20,000 meals--for a total of 95,000 meals (Investment Weekly News via Nov. 19).


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