When the people helping people philosophy of credit unions collides with the holiday spirit of giving, it is a beautiful thing. As an active member of the credit union community, I have the privilege of hearing stories of the credit unions I work with and serve going above and beyond for their members, particularly around the holidays. I wanted to share some of those stories today, in hopes that as we make our way through the hustle and bustle of the end of the year, you’ll remember why we all work so hard—to truly make a positive difference in the lives of our members.
For her entire adult life, a single mother with three children has been raising her kids working at Burger King. As it often does, life happened and she was forced to take scores of unpaid time off to care for a terminal family member. She went into her credit union to do her normal banking and mentioned that she was having a rough time this year because of the work she has missed. The mother is upset because there wouldn’t be any presents for the kids this year. The Member Service Representative who helped her asked the credit union president if he knew of anyone that would help. The credit union just so happens to sponsor the local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) “Shop with a Cop” children’s charity that donates toys for children in need during the holiday season. The president called the F.O.P., and even though their annual event had already taken place, they made arrangements to take the single mother shopping to ensure her children experienced the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning.
Giving back by helping children is an investment in our future neighbor, co-workers, and friends, and credit unions do not forget the kids during the holidays. At another credit union, every Friday throughout the year is shirt day. All staff is required to wear logo shirts and have the option to wear jeans in exchange for a $1 contribution. At the end of the year, the credit union sends all of the money collected to the local children’s hospital. More than $4,000 has been donated over the past several years.
As important as it is to help the children, we cannot forget the elderly. Some employees of another credit union, along with their children, got together and went caroling at their local nursing home, spent time with residents, and passed out holiday cards from their members. The credit union’s members provided 150 signed Christmas cards that the credit union distributed at the nursing home. Next year the credit union has resolved to visit two or more nursing homes to keep this tradition going.
From packing the pantries to feeding the children, credit unions far and wide are conducting the holiday spirit into real change. In a marketplace where many organizations are seeking to be relevant, credit unions continue to be committed to the ideas that build the credit union movement. It is often said that credit unions get in your blood. The people helping people philosophy—not for profit, not for charity, but for service—is interwoven into the DNA of credit union people. During the holidays, this spirit of giving that credit unions exemplify is supercharged, sharing joy with our communities, and there is nothing more relevant than that. At SWBC, we look forward to seeing all the great ways our credit union business partners and friends serve their communities in 2017.
From the Ryan family to yours, Happy Holidays!