|Pictured: Kinston Branch Manager Ashley Pierce and Member Services Representative Wendy Moore.
Self-Help Credit Union today announced that its first statewide “Adopt a Backpack” campaign provided 1,424 backpacks filled with school supplies to school children across the state.
“The ‘Adopt a Backpack’ campaign is an affordable and fun way for members to partner with their credit union and impact the lives of children in need,” said Self-Help Credit Union Executive Vice President Becky Holton. “The program exceeded our expectations for this year, as members across the state generously contributed to support their communities.”
“Adopt a Backpack” helps children start the school year off with basic items such as paper pens, pencils, erasers, ruler, pencil box, markers, and crayons. For every Self-Help Credit Union member who “adopts” a backpack by donating $5 for school supplies, Self-Help pays for a drawstring backpack, buys the school supplies with the members’ donations and delivers the filled backpacks. This year the campaign ran from July 15th to August 15th.
Ashley Pierce and Melody McBroom, Self-Help’s Kinston and Wilmington Branch Directors, started the program in Kinston in 2012. This year all ten Self-Help branches participated. The credit union has five branches under the Self-Help name in Durham, Kinston, Laurinburg, Wilmington and Wilson, four branches doing business as Carolina Mountains Credit Union in Asheville, Hendersonville, Penrose and Rosman, and one branch in Greensboro operating as Choice Community Credit Union.
“When Melody and I realized how many kids lack basic, inexpensive school supplies, we got to thinking about how to help,” said Kinston’s Pierce. “With ‘Adopt a Backpack,’ we partner with members to help kids in need in a simple and affordable way.” Kinston members were the top contributors to the program this year, raising enough money to fill 500 backpacks. The backpacks went to children throughout the Lenoir County Public School System that receive free and reduced lunch.
Wilmington members sponsored 294 backpacks and based the backpack distribution plan on recommendations from local school social workers. “Most of the bags went to homeless children in the school system,” said Branch Manager Melody McBroom. “I was very pleased that we could help the kids that were in the most need.” Backpacks were distributed to Macedonia Baptist Church, Castle Hayne Elementary, Trask Middle School Lake Forest Academy, Winter Park Elementary, and College Park Elementary.
Carolina Mountains Credit Union members contributed 230 backpacks through its four branches in South Asheville, Hendersonville, Rosman and Penrose. Hendersonville’s backpacks went to the Boys and Girls Club in conjunction with a presentation on learning to save while you are young. South Asheville backpacks went to Emma Elementary and Johnston Elementary schools in Buncombe County. The Rosman branch donated backpacks to Rosman Elementary, and the Penrose branch’s backpacks went to Pisgah Forest Elementary in Transylvania County.
“Carolina Mountains’ members were so eager to participate that members waiting in line were donating as we left to go purchase the supplies for the backpacks,” said Carolina Mountains Marketing Manager Connie Corn.
Self-Help’s Laurinburg branch members donated 137 backpacks to Covington Street Elementary School, located three blocks from the branch. The school enrolls approximately 300 students, so backpacks helped nearly half of the school’s students.
Wilson branch members donated 100 through the Wilson Education Partnership and Choice Community Credit Union members in Greensboro sponsored 50.
The Durham Self-Help branch donated 113 backpacks to Eastway Middle school before running out of backpacks. That didn’t stop members from continuing to raise money; members donated an additional $315 to the school.