One very busy knitter provided 64 hats, scarves and headbands—and that was just a start of what Vantage Credit Union employees and members did for their annual Holiday Giving Campaign.
The Vantage Holiday Giving Campaign is a two month-long effort by employees and members in November and December. Employees participated in ‘dress down days’ throughout the holiday season that brought in $2,485 for the campaign, and they also held a chili cook-off and bake sale that raised nearly $600. Vantage branches collected more than $500 just in spare change from members.
From both monetary and other gift donations, Vantage surpassed their goal and provided 354 gifts for the annual Cardinals Care Christmas party held for children from more than a dozen area charitable organizations. This year’s party featured Santa and Mrs. Claus, a kids’ dance troupe, a craft area, hot chocolate, face painting, and even Fredbird and the Grinch.
The annual party began more than 20 years ago after Debbie Meyer, Director of Central Operations at Vantage, had a conversation with the late Marty Hendin, an executive with the St. Louis Cardinals about how Vantage collects gifts and donates them to various charities in need. Meyer said to Hendin, “We never get to see the kids open the gifts, and that’s the best part of giving.” Cardinals Care, the St. Louis Cardinals community foundation, then started throwing a holiday party for children. “Vantage volunteers are now among those who get to see the pure joy and excitement when a child opens a toy provided through our giving efforts. A popular toy this year was a little shopping cart for toddlers with fake food—we had four and could have given away 40!” laughed Meyer.
Since we surpassed our goal of the number of gifts collected for the party, former Cardinals players Al Hrabosky, Ted Savage and Kerry Robinson, among others, helped find good homes for any remaining gifts.
While the gifts for children is a big highlight of the giving season, Vantage also donated complete Thanksgiving meals to a number of charities in the community. More than a dozen families benefitted from this effort. Additionally, a check for over $800 was donated to the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House in East St. Louis.
Vantage Credit Union has been committed to strengthening our community for over 60 years. In addition to the holiday giving efforts, employees regularly participate in monthly dress-down days raising money for a local charity of the month, and a school supplies drive is held each summer for those in need.