CU Happenings illustrate spirit of giving

GTE Financial adopts families for the holidays

GTE Financial Credit Union hosted families for holiday shopping sprees and a special dinner on Dec. 15. The event was part of GTE Financial’s annual promise campaign, Make Hope Real, which aims to deliver a dose of holiday happiness to families struggling during the season. Juli Lewis, director of the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, and her family were among those chosen to participate.

“We host many fundraisers throughout the year, but this one is among those closest to our hearts,” said Brian Best, president and CEO of GTE Financial of the fourth year the CU has adopted families for the holidays. “We are here to serve our community, whatever their need may be, and when you have member families that are struggling, grieving and adjusting to major changes during what’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year, you rally your team to make holiday miracles come true.”

GTE employees raised funds throughout the month for the benefit, and credit union members were invited to donate and to help support the families. This year’s families shopped at Target for their wish list items and enjoyed a complimentary holiday dinner at Cena Restaurant in Channelside. During dinner, GTE Financial’s “elves” wrapped the gifts.


AACFCU spreads holiday cheer

Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union (AACFCU) employees donated gifts for families and individuals in need this holiday season by partnering with local organizations throughout its service areas. It partnered with seven Alabama organizations to distribute gifts, including: Enterprise Health and Rehabilitation Center in Enterprise, Oakview Manor Health Care Center in Ozark, Opp Health and Rehabilitation, Southeast Alabama Regional Council on Aging in Dothan, Troy Health and Rehabilitation in Troy, Volunteers of America Southeast in Mobile, and Wiregrass Salvation Army Angel Tree Program in Dothan.

Helping to make the holidays bright for others are, from left: Jeslen Carver, SARCOA volunteer; Tarry Johnson; SARCOA volunteer; Margaret Donald, AACFCU marketing intern.


CFE FCU joins with volunteers to feed children in need

Volunteers from CFE Federal Credit Union and Seminole State College of Florida joined forces at Feeding Children Everywhere in Longwood. With more than 50 volunteers on hand, the team packaged 10,080 jambalaya casserole meals to be donated to Seminole County Hurricane Relief, serving those families who relocated to Seminole County from Puerto Rico.

“After the devastation of Hurricane Maria, CFE wanted to find a meaningful way to give back,” said Katie Thomason, vice president of development. “With so many families relocating to Central Florida, we knew that there was a need right here in our own backyard.”

CFE is no stranger to Feeding Children Everywhere. Since 2013, credit union employees and their families have volunteered at a variety of Hunger Project events in Central Florida. This year, however, CFE employees rallied alongside community partners from Seminole State College to facilitate their first official CFE Hunger Project at the Feeding Children Everywhere facility in Longwood. In the future, CFE plans to serve the community through additional Hunger Projects with Feeding Children Everywhere.

Team CFE also collected more  than 400 presents this holiday season for 45 children from Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida.


Pen Air holds third annual ‘Give a Click for Communerosity’ wreath contest

Pen Air Federal Credit Union announced the winners of its third annual “Give a Click for Communerosity” Holiday Wreath Contest. Local nonprofits will receive a total of $14,500 from the contest this year. The community was invited to “give a click” by voting for their favorite wreath via Pen Air’s Facebook page.

The winners are: first place and winner of $2,000, Phoenix Rising Rescue, Pen Air LIVE Tellers; second place and winner of $1,500, Autism Pensacola, Century Location; and third place and winner of $1,000, Junior Humane Society, Palafox and Gregory Locations.

The contest emerged to create awareness for local nonprofits during a time of the year when the needs in the community are the greatest. Back office and branch location employees each selected a charity to partner with, decorating their wreaths to represent the chosen organization’s mission. By creating the wreaths and giving funds, the employees at Pen Air hope to bring the community together for good.

The other 20 organizations represented will all receive a donation of $500 and include: B.I.G. Autism Foundation, Baldwin County Child Advocacy Center, Baldwin County Humane Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, Dixon School of the Arts, Early Learning Coalition of Santa Rosa County, Escambia County Professional Firefighters, Every Child A Reader in Escambia, Favor House of Northwest Florida, Friends Of Bear Inc., Friends of West Florida Public Library WFPL, Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center, Panhandle Equine Rescue, Inc., Pensacola Hotel for Dogs and Cats, Santa Rosa Kids’ House, Service Dog University, Inc., The Miracle League of Pensacola, Weekend Food Program Navarre, Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, Inc., and Willow Farms Community.