‘Tis the Season: Northwest Credit Unions Find Creative Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

Duck and Beaver fans can show their true colors by purchasing a ticket in Point West Credit Union’s Civil War raffle, which has already raised $500 for Credit Unions for Kids.

Northwest credit unions are doing their part this week to make sure that their neighbors have warm clothes, hearty meals and toys for the kids during the holidays with a sleigh-full of food drives and other special events.

Some credit unions want to have donations in hand as soon as Wednesday to help local food banks celebrate Thanksgiving. Other drives continue well into December and benefit a variety of charitable organizations, ranging from United Way and the Audobon Society of Portland to Open House Ministries and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Unitus Community Credit Union is giving its members a variety of ways to help. The credit union is collecting warm clothes, non-perishable food items, basic necessities and toys through Dec. 13, with donations at each branch going to a different agency.

Donations dropped off at Unitus’ Beaverton, Tanasbourne or Peterkort branches will go to Good Neighbor Center; the Plaza and Mall 205 branches will donate to SnowCap; the Mill Plain branch will donate to Share; the Clackamas branch will donate to Clackamas Service Center; and the Salem branch will distribute its donations to Helping Hands.

In addition, for each savings and checking account opened between now and Dec.13, Unitus will donate an additional $5 to that branch’s community partner.

Numerica Credit Union members also have a variety of charitable options. Branches in Spokane and north Idaho are collecting cold-weather accessories — hats, mittens, scarves, etc. — through Nov. 23; those will be handed out, along with Thanksgiving meals, during Tom’s Turkey Tuesday at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena on Nov. 26.

Cash donations also are being accepted at Numerica branches in Spokane and north Idaho for Second Harvest Inland Northwest and the Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho; in the Tri-Cities for Second Harvest Tri-Cities; and in Wenatchee for Lighthouse Christian Ministries and the Entiat Food Bank.

Rogue Credit Union and television station KDRV are asking the community to help them provide “Hope for the Holidays” by nominating and then voting online for neighbors who most need help during the holiday season. Donations are being accepted at all Rogue branches, with the credit union matching up to $1,500. Proceeds will go to the 12 individuals or families in Coos, Curry, Del Norte, Jackson, Josephine, or Klamath counties who receive the most votes by Nov. 26.

Lacamas Community Credit Union staff gather Holiday Dinner Baskets for members in Clark and Skamania counties. From left: President/CEO Kathleen Romane, Eve Rossmiller, Terri Dostert, Hillary Losli and Tracy Thomas.

Lacamas Community Credit Union is also asking its members to nominate neighbors in need. The credit union’s Holiday Dinner Basket Program delivers grocery items such as stuffing mix, gravy, cranberry sauce, vegetables and pumpkin pie filling to individuals and families in Clark and Skamania counties. The baskets also include a gift card for a turkey, fresh produce, dairy products and other ingredients for a holiday meal. Nominations are being accepted online until Nov. 30.

Rivermark Community Credit Union members have until Nov. 22 to donate gently used children’s books for The Children’s Book Bank. The Children’s Book Harvest hopes to collect 25,000 books, and Rivermark has committed to donating 10 cents — up $2,500 — for every book donated. Books can be dropped off at any Rivermark branch or New Seasons Market.

BECU is hoping that its combination of low-cost holiday recipes and financial education will keep more money in all its members’ pockets during the holiday. Members have until midnight on Nov. 20 to submit their favorite money-saving recipe to giveaways@becu.org; judges will then pick their five favorites, with the winners each receiving $50 to use toward holiday shopping. And the recipes will be posted online at www.becu.org/news so that everyone can eat well for less.

In addition, BECU’s two-month series of Holiday Ready articles offers more money-saving ideas for members, including helpful tips for shopping with a credit card. In December, the online articles will include more holiday shopping tips, a list of local places to shop, an explanation of the benefits of charitable giving, and “a special giveaway.”
Several credit unions are in the midst of holiday food drives:

  • First Community Credit Union is collecting non-perishable food to help stock food-bank pantries in the 22 Oregon and Washington counties it serves. Donations are being accepted at all 30 First Community branches and will be distributed in mid-December.
  • Advantis Credit Union is continuing a 30-year tradition by collecting food for the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division, which provides emergency food boxes for needy families throughout the Portland area. Advantis members can donate non-perishable food or buy and donate cans of tuna at any Advantis branch.
  • Cascade Forest Products Credit Union members can donate food for the Open House Ministries pantry, or make cash donations that will be converted into gift cards that Open House can use to shop for its clients. Donations are being accepted at any branch through Nov. 22; in December, the credit union will participate in the annual Bridge the Gap toy drive, which collects gifts for underprivileged youth in Clark County and surrounding areas.

SELCO Community Credit Union staff say “thanks” to members for their help in raising money for a variety of organizations, including the Audobon Society of Portland, United Way of Deschutes County, Sacred Heart Medical Center and the Oregon Food Bank.

Four credit unions are making it especially easy to give, turning Facebook “likes” into cash donations:

And finally, Point West Credit Union is hoping Duck and Beaver fans will show their true colors by purchasing a ticket in its Civil War raffle. Tickets, which are on sale through Nov. 20, start at $1 and get cheaper the more members buy. On the line: a chance to walk away with awesome Duck or Beaver gear, bragging rights for the big game on Nov. 29 and, best of all, knowing that all proceeds will benefit Credit Unions for Kids.


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216, gstein@nwcua.org.

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