Keesler FCU, Gulfport, Miss. recently completed a major community giveback project, Backpacks 4 Bright Futures, which resulted in thousands of backpacks and school supplies donated to 6,200 students in 64 schools across 16 school districts. The supplies went to incoming kindergarten students in the six counties surrounding Keesler FCU’s main office.
“Keesler Federal is committed to member and community giveback programs demonstrating the credit union difference. In preparation for our Strategic Planning session, our Board decided to focus on supporting education, knowing the increasing cost of school supplies burdens young families and teachers alike. This project was a win-win-win,” said James Hollingsworth, chairman of Keesler Federal’s board.
“Backpacks 4 Bright Futures gave the opportunity for all levels of the Keesler Federal team to work shoulder to shoulder on this community project. We were able to lessen the parents' financial burden, and teachers appreciated being able to focus on educating, and not worrying about supplies,” he added.
Total donations included:
Anthony Abella, financial education specialist at Keesler Federal, served as the Backpacks 4 Bright Futures project coordinator.
“Working on this project has been very eye-opening. When we researched where the need would be for backpacks and school supplies, we were amazed at how much parents and teachers spend per student,” he said. “Seeing the smiling faces of kindergarteners as the end result definitely made all the hard work worth it.”
Sylvia Pinegar, digital development specialist at Keesler Federal, said this project was a way to give back to the community that has supported the credit union for more than 75 years.
“When we kicked off the Backpacks 4 Bright Futures initiative research, we were floored by how many supplies just a single child needed to start school, so we knew we needed to make this project happen,” she said. “As the social media manager for Keesler Federal, I got to see a myriad of photos and videos we were tagged in by thankful parents and excited students, which validated all of the work that went in to providing over 6,000 kindergartners with what they needed to take their first steps to success. What was equally as incredible to see was how much joy our whole team took in putting this project on and how much pride it brought to our volunteers to be able to help out the community in this way.”