Southern California's Helping Hands Distributes 130,000 Pounds
Of Food To Los Angeles Community Posted on April 26, 2011

Food_drive_2011_103

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michelle Hunter, SVP Marketing & Development
Direct: 714. 671.2746
MHunter@CUSoCal.org

El Monte, CA. April 16, 2011 — Due to unforeseen emergencies and economic conditions, many individuals and families in the Los Angeles community find that they must make a choice every day between paying bills and putting food on the table. Southern California’s Helping Hands (SCHH), an employee inspired charity established by Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal), confronted this dilemma head-on by hosting its 7th Annual Food Distribution Day in April.

On Saturday, April 16, a year of planning and preparation culminated at El Monte High School where the campus was transformed, staged, and manned by more than 550 volunteers. From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., more than 130,000 pounds of fresh food, household items, and new clothing valued at $260,000 was gifted to more than 4,300 people in the Los Angeles community. Hot lunches were also served to those waiting in line.

“We are happy to be able to give back to this community,” stated Alissa Charlton, SCHH Board Chair Person. “The need is so great here and the economy continues to have a negative effect on more and more people. But, with the generous contributions of so many volunteers who opened their hearts and gave their time, we are able to make a difference for the people in this community.”

And a difference was made for many Los Angeles County residents. Thousands lined up along the high school entrance out of need to provide for their families.

Maria, a mother of six from El Monte, arrived in line at 6 a.m. to receive food for her family. “As a disabled, unemployed, mother of six, this food is a necessity for me,” Maria stated. “I have to watch every penny I spend in order to stretch my money for an entire month and keep my children fed. And if the month is long, or one of my kids needs new shoes, it’s extra stressful.”

Others stood in line to spread the generosity received to friends and family who are struggling through the economic hardship.

“Everything is going up but the paycheck,” stated Anna from Whittier who arrived to stand in line at 3 a.m. “I have ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren. My daughter and son-in-law just had another baby and are out of work. I greatly appreciate this generous yearly event because this means I can help my children, neighbors, and those at my church who need it the most.”

In addition to the hundreds of high school students and members of the community who showed up to volunteer, 45 staff members of CU SoCal came to lend a helping hand.

“We are privileged to serve this community five days a week,” stated CU SoCal El Monte Branch Manager, Caeser Mayor, “so the opportunity to give back to the community in this way means a great deal to us.”

Dave Gunderson, CU SoCal President/CEO, thanked the many volunteers for their hard work. “It’s an honor to be out here today putting the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ into action and helping to build better lives for so many. But, what’s truly amazing is the response we received from volunteers. It’s heartwarming to see the compassion and care of so many. A simple thank you cannot describe the gratitude I feel for those who generously gave their time and financial support to this worthwhile cause.”

About Southern California’s Helping Hands (SCHH)

Founded in 1997 by CU SoCal employees, SCHH’s vision is to provide Southern California’s underprivileged and impoverished families with the basic necessities of life, treating them with dignity and respect. Our program provides food, clothing, and financial assistance to families in need, and supports other charitable organizations in Southern California. For more information, visit www.CUSoCal.org/SCHH.htm, or call 866 CU SoCal (866.287.6225) toll-free.

About Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal)

Founded in 1954 as Whittier Area Schools Federal Credit Union, CU SoCal is dedicated to providing Members with World-Class Service, and convenience. With more than $600 million in assets, 41,000 Members, and seven branch locations, CU SoCal is dedicated to the credit union motto of “People Helping People.” Our products and services are highly competitive with banks and other financial providers. Visit www.CUSoCal.org or call 562.698.8326 for more information. Membership is open to those who live, work, or worship in Orange County, the San Gabriel Valley, and the cities in between.

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