The ShelterCare Center for Programs and Services is nearly overflowing with gifts this week, as representatives from local businesses drop off presents for the families they've sponsored for Christmas. We often have individuals and families in our programs, who, as Christmas approaches, may not have gifts underneath their trees without help from caring community members.
Oregon Community Credit Union has sponsored several ShelterCare families each year for the past few years. This year, OCCU sponsored six families in our Homelessness Prevention program.
OCCU Marketing Communication Specialist Jamie Opra explains that the credit union has a "community fund" for each branch. The management team at each location uses this fund to donate to charitable organizations that fit the criteria set by the company. Employees and their families are invited to participate. Jamie says ShelterCare is a favorite among employees because our mission aligns so well with the credit union's core values.
"We are passionate about enhancing the community that we live in, especially during the holidays," says Jamie. "It's always been part of the company culture to give back and do our part."
Jamie said it's a fun time of year at OCCU. "Our employees get so excited. They put so much thought ino what they buy for the families and also spend a lot of time wrapping everything. It's not just something they are checking off on their to-do list. It's very meaningful for them."
Amber Cowles, ShelterCare case manager, works with one of the families that OCCU sponsored this year. "They are beyond grateful," she says. "The dad was shaking his head in disbelief as I was unloading the gifts from my car. He is so, so happy. He plans to send pictures to the OCCU folks of the kids opening the gifts."
Participating OCCU teams this year included the marketing, enterprise-risk and card services departments, as well as the loan branch and the West 11th and Barger branches.
ShelterCare still has individuals and families without sponsors this Christmas. If you would like to help, contact Cheryl Breuer, development associate, at (541) 686-1262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.