Credit unions take day to pay it forward
Monday, October 9, 2017
Mankato Free Press (October 9, 2017) - Area credit unions may have been closed Monday, but staff used the extra time to volunteer around the community.
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, Southpoint Financial Credit Union and Minnesota Valley Credit Union were among 37 branches in the state paying it forward for the day in 80 cities.
The service projects included local park clean ups, serving lunch at The Salvation Army, delivering gift baskets to police and firefighters, and walking dogs at the Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society, or BENCHS.
All three credit unions paid visits to BENCHS, with two groups walking dogs and another donating dog beds.
Megan Smith, a loan processor at Minnesota Valley Credit Union and self described “dog person,” said volunteering at the animal shelter was an easy choice.
“We got surveyed as employees, and we really wanted to walk the dogs,” she said of her group.
And the dogs can always use the exercise, said Marge Amberson, a volunteer walker at the shelter who set up the credit union workers with their dogs.
Before setting off with their pups, the workers toured the rest of the shelter. BENCHS gave tours to the other credit unions earlier in the day as well before Southpoint walked dogs and Affinity Plus donated the bedding.
Liz Harrison, branch manager at Affinity Plus, said it felt rewarding to give back to the community and learn more about a nonprofit like BENCHS.
“I’ve never been down here so it’s good to see what they do,” she said.
Susan Kroon, BENCHS board president, said introducing more people to the shelter, and how much help is required to run it, can pay dividends down the road.
“If people can be here they understand it much more clearly, which makes them more inclined to possibly adopt from us, or volunteer and foster with us,” she said. “If we can get someone involved even a little bit it’s a very positive impact.”
Kroon didn’t know the credit unions perform service projects each year, but figured something was up when different branches kept calling to ask about volunteer opportunities.
“It’s pretty neat it’s a credit union, corporate or group agreement,” she said. “It certainly works for us.”