For Immediate Release
November 27, 2019
OTIS FCU to Host Holiday Angel Tree Benefiting Six School Districts’ Lunch Programs
JAY, Maine— On November 29, OTIS Federal Credit Union will kick off a new initiative aimed at combating hunger locally. A Christmas tree, to be displayed in the Credit Union’s teller area, will be decorated with angel ornaments: Each angel will bear the mascot of one of six school districts on its front, and a dollar amount on its back. Individuals will be able to choose an angel representing RSU 9, RSU 38, RSU 73, RSU 78, MSAD 52, or MSAD 58, and will have the option of sponsoring a child’s lunch for one day, one week, two weeks, or four weeks. On December 31, the Credit Union will disburse checks for the total amount donated to each of the six school districts’ lunch programs. Funds will be used to help pay down student lunch debts within the districts.
The idea was conceived when Sarah Hayes, Director of Marketing and Communications at OTIS FCU, and Kim Turner, President/CEO of OTIS FCU, visited Spruce Mountain High School to take a photo with Food Service Director Laura Lorette following a $200 donation to RSU 73’s lunch program. As they discussed how the donation would be used in the district, Hayes and Turner asked to be kept abreast of any further opportunities to help. When the idea of decorating an “angel tree” with ornaments bearing lunch prices was raised in conversation, the three immediately sprang into action. Lorette proposed the idea at a School Board meeting later that evening, where it was unanimously approved. In short order, the remaining five school districts within the Credit Union’s field of membership were contacted, and all agreed to participate. While logistics were being hammered out, a committee of employees at OTIS got to work creating the ornaments and readying the tree.
“A student who is hungry has a harder time focusing on learning,” remarked Lorette. “Nutritious foods provide kids the energy to excel in and out of school. RSU 73 provides a nutritionally-balanced breakfast for free to each student, and low-cost or free lunches to students each school day. Unfortunately, one in five children in Maine still struggles with hunger, and many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for public assistance. We are very pleased to participate in this program, and our goal is to reach as many students as we can.”
Said Turner, “We are so excited to be able to do this for the school districts within our field of membership. Food insecurity, particularly within schools, is very real and during this time of giving, we feel that this is a great opportunity to help children that may not have the means to pay for their lunches.” Added Hayes, “When we recently made the $200 lunch program donations to these districts to commemorate International Credit Union Day, we were met with so much gratitude—and also confronted with the true magnitude of the lunch debt issue. We really felt called, as an organization, to do more, and we are thrilled to be kicking off this new initiative this year. The holidays are traditionally a time of giving and of spreading joy. What better way to capture the spirit of the season than to serve as a conduit for giving within our own community?”
Credit union members, as well as members of the wider community, are invited to donate. The Credit Union is located at 170 Main Street in Jay.
Please direct all media inquiries to Sarah Hayes at (207) 320-4985 or email SarahH@otisfcu.coop
About OTIS Federal Credit Union
OTIS Federal Credit Union was founded in April of 1954 by eleven local millworkers. Pooling their respective deposits of $5 each, they associated themselves as charter members of OTIS under the provision of the Federal Credit Union Act. At a time in America when obtaining a loan was difficult for the average family, the founders of OTIS sought to form a cooperative, independent financial institution operated and controlled solely by its local membership.
Since its inception, OTIS has been committed not only to providing quality financial products and services to its shareholders, but to giving back to the community. Today, OTIS is a full-service financial center offering real estate, auto, and personal lending; online and mobile banking; a variety of checking, savings, and investment accounts; VISA debit and credit cards; financial planning; and much more. OTIS serves more than 11,000 members and holds over $181 million in assets, employing 30 people from Jay and the surrounding area. The Credit Union is located at 170 Main Street in Jay, Maine. For more information, please visit www.otisfcu.coop or call (207) 897-0900.