Communities are brought together by many hands, many hardships, and lots of love. For the Food for Kids Program at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Astoria, Oregon, it’s no different.
“Last year we put together 2,246 food bags, which puts us just under 13,000 lbs of food provided to our community,” says Pantry volunteer, Janet Wilker.
In just six years, the little pantry located at the Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea Church, has given away over 10,000 food bags. The bags, filled with groceries and provisions, are then given to area individuals and families alike, but more specifically, the children.
“Every now and then we run into a parent who thanks us for being there for their family,” said Lorrie Radu, also a Pantry volunteer. “We like to think of it as delivering a little bag of hope every Friday.”
Employees of area financial cooperative, Wauna Credit Union (WCU), choose one charity or non-profit organization within to raise funds toward. This round, they selected the Food for Kids Program. The Credit Union managed to raise over $6,500 for the Pantry. WCU Compliance Specialist, Kristen DeForrest helped coordinate the fundraising efforts.
“Our employees care about giving back to our communities and that’s why we chose the Food for Kids program,” said DeForrest. “I know this food makes a tremendous impact on the students’ ability to learn and grow, and we hope others will join us in supporting this very worthy cause,” she said
During the last quarter of 2016, Wauna Credit Union staff raised more than $2500 for Clatsop Community Action. Depending on the year, we have changed charities quarterly or annually. Staff nominates and vote on each organization we support. It is part of the Credit Union culture to support our communities through volunteering and donations, and it carries down from the very top to our front line staff. One of the reasons many of us have chosen to work for a financial cooperative is the philosophy of “people helping people” and our desire to make a positive difference in the communities around us and the world.
For part of 2016, Wauna Credit Union raised money for Clatsop Community
Action (CCA). Clatsop Community Action is an incredible organization in Clatsop County that helps fund the food bank, they offer energy assistance for people when money is tight, whether it be a seasonal layoff, sudden unemployment, or just not earning enough. They help low income workers get needed items, offer training programs, and even find housing for those without any. They do so much in the community, it is impossible to imagine Clatsop County without them!
It was with great pride and deep gratitude, that we presented Clatsop Community Action’s tireless director Elaine Bruce with a check for $2,543.20, and more than 50 pounds of personal care items for those who need them. It is great knowing all of these funds will be used to help people in Clatsop County.
The tourism economy, which is a major part of Clatsop County’s business, can be a volatile way to live for those who work within it, much like fishing, it is seasonal. Tourism industry work consists of many low paying jobs – food service, retail, and hotel housekeeping, these jobs typically pay minimum wage with few, if any, benefits. It can be hard to make ends meet. Luckily, CCA is here to help people when ends don’t meet, when the off season lasts just too long, or when bad luck has knocked good people off their feet. CCA is also mostly volunteer run.
The money goes towards CCA clients who have no money for critical items such as diapers, toothbrushes, bus passes, replacing lost identifications needed for job searches and other emergency services that are not served due to limits placed on grant funds do not allow. Many families have children and are living in their cars or a shelter with little or no money to live on.
Our fundraising is done through a variety of methods, some employees allow for an automatic deduction from each paycheck to go to the charity fund year-round. We also do “Jeans Days” on paydays, in which every employee wearing jeans puts $5 into the fund. Another fundraiser is “Spirit Days”, when on non-payday Fridays staff is encouraged to wear various themed attire, in December every Friday had a special theme, including wearing elf or Santa hats, wearing Silver and Gold, or jerseys of a favorite team. When members see staff dressed down in this clothing or in jeans, they can rest assured, our staff is being philanthropic!
Other ways we raise money for our charities are staff raffles, silent auctions, and with the candy we sell at the teller windows. All of the money raised from the candy sales go right to our charity fund. Occasionally, we enter members and staff into raffles for sporting event tickets or weekends at the beach if they donate a certain amount into our charity fund.
Thank you CCA for all that you do in our community, and for all the people you work so hard to help!