Portland, Ore., November 27, 2018 – The Holiday Drive is an annual tradition at Unitus dating back nearly 15 years. Employees at the credit union know the beats by now: come December, compete with colleagues to drive donations for Unitus’ community partners. Build care packages for kids in the community. Help make the cold winter season a little warmer (emotionally and physically) for those most in need. While the mission remains the same in 2018, the methods have been reimagined to help people from the ground up.
Unitus employees will continue to collaborate with their community partners as they have in the past. This year, however, the credit union team will focus specifically on a certain set of high-need items: new shoes and socks for youth.
They’re partnering with Gotta Have Sole, a nonprofit that donates new footwear to children in homeless shelters around the U.S. Their employees take no salary, enabling them to direct 100% of their donations directly to those they’re helping. Following suit, Unitus will donate 100% of the budget traditionally used to incent employees to give, directly to the nonprofit. Together, they will provide new shoes for children living in shelters across Portland. Each child will receive a new pair of Timberland boots for the winter, a new pair of sneakers for all seasons, and a new pair of socks to help keep their feet warm and comfortable.
“We can’t express how grateful we are for the work Gotta Have Sole does to help underserved youth in their communities, and how excited we are to share that work with our communities here at home,” said Laurie Kresl, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Unitus. “Not only will a shoe donation serve these children far beyond this holiday season, it will give them a better chance to build self-esteem and healthy social relationships among their peers. Kids without shoes tend to face bullying, teasing, and even social ostracism, and we hope this will give them a better opportunity to grow confident and focus on brightening their future.”
Recognizing youth needs around the world, Unitus will also partner with the World Council of Credit Unions to collect donations this month for the Busia Compassionate Centre in western Kenya. This orphanage provides a home for overlooked children to live, learn, and grow into healthy adults. The money collected will help give children a foundation for a brighter future, providing for essentials such as clothing and food, as well as ongoing support like updated facilities and mosquito netting.
The Annual Holiday Drive will take place from December 1 through 31. Unitus members are invited to give too. Beginning Saturday, December 1 (for branches open Saturday) and Monday, December 3 (for all other branches), members will find a Holiday Drive collection bin at every branch in order to place donations of new shoes and socks. To make a monetary donation of any amount to support Busia Compassionate Centre, visit www.doglobalgood.org/busia or stop by a branch and speak with a Unitus member advocate.
About Gotta Have Sole
Gotta Have Sole is a nonprofit charity providing brand new footwear for children living in shelters across the U.S. Founded by Nicholas Lowinger when he was 12 (now a Junior in college), Nick runs the company now with his mom Lori and a team of youth volunteers in Rhode Island. Working at the foundation is 100% volunteer and donation-based, meaning every single dime donated goes directly to those in need. Watch their story.
About Busia Compassionate Centre
In Kenya, more than one-million children have lost one or both parents due to the AIDS epidemic. Many are orphaned and struggle with no one to care for them. For well over the last decade, the Busia Compassionate Centre has offered hope to orphans and foster children who face extreme poverty and limited resources. Funded in collaboration with the World Council of Credit Unions and the Worldwide Foundation, the Centre builds structures, plants gardens, and focuses on making sustainable improvements for the children. Their mission is to continually find new ways to provide the love and care needed to provide children with food security, a safe home, a sense of family, and financial inclusion – many for the first time in their lives.
Posted By: Jacob Schnee
About the Author: Jacob joined Unitus as Marketing Specialist in March 2015 and transitioned to Marketing Communications Specialist in March 2017.
His experience has spanned hospitality, business development, consulting, and marketing in various industries along the east coast, west coast and in between.
When he is not developing internal and external communications for Unitus, he is engaging in recreational fitness, studying personality types and exploring the outdoors with his wife, dog, and baby.