Helping people is what First Trust Credit Union does year-round, and in December, each branch holds holiday fundraisers to provide extra support in the midst of increased expenses.
“We feel it’s not only a great philosophy to give back to people, but it’s also a responsibility we have as part of the community to be able to help as much as we can,” said Marketing Director Dorene Martinson.
First Trust’s Michigan City branch partners with the Michigan City Salvation Army and sets up a Christmas tree with Angel Tree tags in their lobby every year. The tags include the age groups of children in need and specify whether the child is a boy or girl as well. First Trust members, employees, and anyone in the community who would like to participate are able to take a tag off the tree, shop for presents, and return the presents to First Trust. The presents are then donated to the Salvation Army where they are distributed to the children. Martinson added, “This year we are trying to beat our number of toys collected (111) to donate through our Angel Tree effort."
Martinson said their three other branches are working hard and their efforts are paying off as well. Wheatfield branch will be providing gifts for local children in a fashion similar to Michigan City’s Angel Tree.
“Our Wheatfield branch is partnering with the Wheatfield Elementary School once again this year to provide gifts for elementary kids who are in need during this holiday season,” she said. “They are doing an Angel Tree with the kids there as well. First Trust members and the community are encouraged to purchase gifts for those children, and the gifts are coming in quickly.
As they have done in years past, the La Porte branch is supporting not only kids, but whole families through their Adopt-A-Family program.
“Each year, they have a family in the community that is in need during the holidays, so they adopt that family, raise funds, and purchase gifts that are on the family’s wish list for the parents and the children,” Martinson said. This year, First Trust’s La Porte branch adopted a family of four, a single mom with three children.
First Trust’s Valparaiso branch works closely with Hilltop Neighborhood House, which is a childcare center providing education for preschool and kindergarten readiness in addition to other community services. The Valparaiso branch is collecting gifts for the children who take part in Hilltop Neighborhood House’s services.
Martinson would like to encourage First Trust members and people in the community to follow the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People” and give back. She encourages everyone to find a way to donate to families in need during the holiday season. For those who feel they cannot spare the expense, she said they do not have to spend a lot of money, as something small can put a smile on a child’s face. “Even smaller gifts or less expensive items can be a real treasure to these children who otherwise wouldn’t have Christmas presents under the tree,” Martinson said. “I know it’s a hard time for many people. I think more now than ever, people are just trying to be able to provide needs for themselves, but if people are able to go beyond that, think about going out this year and giving back a little bit to people who aren’t as fortunate.”
To explore opportunities at First Trust Credit Union, visit https://www.firsttrustcu.com/.