Cooperative Day of Action Presents Volunteer Opportunities for Credit Union Members, Professionals

Before most businesses had even cleaned up the New Year’s confetti, Laura Steiger was already mobilizing for a community-wide celebration of the International Year of Cooperatives worthy of national attention. The community affairs coordinator for the popular Community Food Co-op in Bellingham, Wash., wasted no time reaching out to the area’s very active cooperative community, and immediately credit unions, farm co-ops, REI and others banded together to create the Co-op Coalition—and to create a twelve-month awareness campaign that includes a variety of cooperative events.

The campaign has been so pervasive that it is now hard for anyone in the region to miss the message. More than 500 signs have appeared on lawns and in businesses boasting that “Proud Co-op Members” were present. Elected officials have proclaimed cooperatives to be valuable assets to help overburdened state and city governments.

The cooperative spirit in Bellingham moves to an even higher level June 16 when the community celebrates the Cooperative Day of Action. Volunteers are invited to help at any of three sites: the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center, where a landscaping project is planned; the Bellingham Food Bank Farm; and the Native Plant Nursery at the North Cascades National Park. The day will conclude with a barbecue celebration.

Linda Sant, marketing director for GaPac Community Federal Credit Union, explained that June 16 represents a true example of cooperative organizations working together with no sense of competition or individual motives.

“The entire Whatcom County co-op leadership team has shared a special working relationship from day-one,” Sant said. “We are like-minded in our passion to help people understand more fully the benefits of operating as a cooperative—nothing else has mattered.”

Thanks to the cooperative group’s success in placing radio advertisements calling for volunteers, the event is expected be well-attended.

“As part of the community since 1952, our credit union strongly supports community service,” added GaPac CEO Katie Zowada. “To bring together 10 area cooperatives, and organize a volunteer a day of action, demonstrates the collaborative strength in our community.”

Other credit unions participating include Whatcom Educational Credit Union and Industrial Credit Union of Whatcom County.

Once the tired volunteers finish their work and celebration, there will only be more to come. Steiger’s band of cooperatives continues to brainstorm more events, particular during October’s traditional International Credit Union Day.


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Posted in Events.