First Trust joins volunteers and stuffs buses with food for The Salvation Army

First Trust joins volunteers and stuffs buses with food for The Salvation Army

Al’s Supermarket on Franklin St. and Karwick Plaza in Michigan City hosted the annual “STUFF A BUS” event, where community businesses and organizations purchased $5 pre-packed bags for families in need on Saturday, September 24.  From 9 a.m.-3 p.m., First Trust Credit Union, The Salvation Army, Al’s Supermarkets, WIMS Radio, WEFM Radio, and Michigan City Area Schools worked together to promote the event to the community, and load the donated food items on a school bus at each location.

First Trust Credit Union STUFF A BUS 2022

First Trust Credit Union STUFF A BUS 2022 21 Photos
First Trust Credit Union STUFF A BUS 2022First Trust Credit Union STUFF A BUS 2022First Trust Credit Union STUFF A BUS 2022First Trust Credit Union STUFF A BUS 2022

While many of the pre-packed bags were pre-sold this year, shoppers at Al’s Supermarket were invited to purchase the remaining bags for $5, buy a $5 meat voucher, shop around the store for extra items, or donate money into The Salvation Army red kettles. The results yielded a whopping 1081 bags of food donated (11,917 lbs. of food/items donated), 483 meat vouchers (valued at $5 each), and $843 in monetary donations.

First Trust Credit Union Marketing Director, Dorene Martinson, has participated in STUFF A BUS for 11 of the past 19 years and is happy to be serving alongside others to meet the growing needs of the community.

“I know that Major Becky Simmons from The Salvation Army has stated that they feed about 400 families a month, but with the increase in the grocery costs, they feed 500 plus families a month,” Martinson said. “That’s just the number of families, so you can imagine the actual number of individuals to feed is even higher. There's a very big need right now, and I’m excited to be involved because credit unions are based on People Helping People.”

A few weeks prior to STUFF A BUS, First Trust Credit Union does a food drive at its Michigan City branch. Martinson shared that their neighbors, Life Care Center, has also joined them in collecting non-perishable items in the past several years. Once the food drives are complete, they pack up all the groceries and take them over to Al’s Supermarket on the day of the event.

“Part of the credit union philosophy is to give back to the community, and STUFF A BUS is the biggest event that we do for our Michigan City community,” Martinson said. “We have branch locations in Michigan City, Valpo. La Porte, and Wheatfield, and all of our branches have one or two specific charity partners in their communities that they work with on a yearly basis. Being able to help organize this event is a perfect example of how First Trust Credit Union strives to fulfill that philosophy.”

After 15 years of volunteering for this event, Owner of WIMS Radio, Ric Federighi, has learned that the pantry shelves at The Salvation Army are sparse at this time of the year. With the need increasing in the area, supplying a good meal for people in need is even more crucial now than in years past.

“We are packing hearty meals,” Federighi said. “These are really good meals that people could utilize to not only feed themselves, but they can make it last for a family of four or a family of six because while the need is so crazy these days. The need has really grown in our area.”

At 3 p.m., the buses from Michigan City Area Schools transported all the items donated to The Salvation Army, where the Michigan City High School JROTC was ready to unload the buses and restock The Salvation Army’s pantry shelves.  

“Thank you to the community and everybody that's out here making a difference,” Federighi said. “We all do it together to help these families in need. If we all stick together and help as a community, I think we’re going to go far.”

If you are in need of assistance in providing food for yourself or your family, please contact your local Salvation Army today.

Learn more about the financial products and services offered at First Trust Credit Union, and how they serve their communities here.