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Backpack-Thank You

NAPERVILLE – Generosity can be found in many forms; from a simple, random act of kindness of forgoing birthday gifts to donating hard-earned cash or Choice Rewards Points to giving of one’s time to help those in need.

Alison B. of Elmhurst is a perfect example of the many generous hearts that live in our community. The soon-to-be first-grader, asked those who would be attending her sixth-birthday party to make a cash donation to the We’ve Got Your Back fundraising campaign in lieu of gifts – an amazingly huge gesture by one so young.

While they were planning her birthday party, Alison and her Mom, Natalie, decided it would be nice to give back and do something for those in need at her party, instead of receiving gifts. Natalie had heard about the We’ve Got Your Back campaign from Amy Brandt, the Credit Union’s Vice President of Business Solutions and suggested this might be the cause they consider.

Alison loved it and immediately latched onto the idea of helping kids, right here in DuPage County. And so with that detail taken care of, the party planning continued with one small caveat – please make a donation to We’ve Got Your Back. One selfless act, that will help many.

“I was so very proud of her commitment to helping this worthy cause and how excited she was to help others,” said Natalie.

During her party it was evident that Alison had made the right choice by her ebullient smile. “She will remember this special birthday for years to come,” Natalie added, “She gave the gift of opportunity, the opportunity to succeed in school to kids in our community who needed a helping hand.”

At her birthday party, Alison collected $80 which was used to buy 5 backpacks, stuffed with everything needed on the first day of school; supplies that may have been missing or tattered without her gift.

Her act of generosity and those of Members, We’ve Got Your Back sponsors and the DuPage Credit Union Team blended together in perfect unison to help over 2,600 local students in need, and their families, begin the school year with the tools and services needed to succeed, during the annual 25th Catholic Charities Back-To-School Fair August 5th at the Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park. Over 80 service providers participated by donating time, services and support – offering free haircuts, dental and eye exams, and so much more.

The school fair benefitted families which are served by the DuPage Regional Office of Education (DuPage ROE).

“It’s vital for every child to start school with all of the resources needed,” said Dr. Olga Rammer, Director of Administrative Services for the DuPage ROE.

“The DuPage (ROE) is not a funding source,” she added, “Without the generosity of multiple partners, there is no way we could coordinate this event.”

For the second-consecutive year, DuPage Credit Union partnered with the DuPage ROE to help raise funds to purchase backpacks and school supplies for students attending the fair. This year, Members, Team Members and the community helped raise over $16,200 through our We’ve Got Your Back backpack fundraising campaign.

“We couldn’t do it without the Credit Union,” remarked Amy Lambert of Catholic Charities, “We had not been able to offer backpacks with high school appropriate school supplies until the Credit Union offered assistance.”

Additional organizations also made donations to the DuPage ROE to purchase the remaining supplies for elementary students.

During the We’ve Got Your Back campaign the Credit Union held multiple fundraisers over the course of four months, which included Jeans Days for Team Members, business sponsored campaign t-shirts, online and in-branch donations of cash and Choice Rewards Points, candy and baked good sales, Taste of Wheaton raffle and our second-annual Drive, Drop & Donate Shred and Electronic Recycle event on June 19th which raised over $2,000 in one afternoon.

“Members are proud that their donations are making an impact in the community,” said Downers Grove Manager Matt Bretz.

“Once again, I am in awe of how charitable our community is,” said Brandt.
Alison’s thoughtful gift and the donations of all who contributed helped us nearly double last year’s campaign total; with the Credit Union donating the remaining dollars needed to purchase 500 backpacks and school kits for local high school students – as well as 1,444 elementary school kits.

“It’s nice to give back,” added Bloomingdale Manager Sidney Fowler, as she organized backpacks during the Back-To-School Fair, “It makes me appreciate what I have.”

DuPage Credit Union would like to thank everyone who supported this year’s campaign, including Citadel Information Management, BUY Bernadette & Yvonne of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Chicago Title, Enterprise Car Sales, Jen Vonesh of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Clique Studios, Kaleidoscope, Suburban Life Media, recreationalzoo.com, Freese & Associates, Inc., totallyUSAmade.com, Daniel & Associates Real Estate, Response Graphics & Embroidery, LLC, VISOgraphic, Inc., Patty Gustin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Aubrey Sign Company, That Special Touch Events, Namasteˊ Salon & Spa, Zazuˊ Hair Salon & Day Spa, Lynn Herrington of Realty Representatives, Inc., Marianos, Law Offices of Lora Matthews Fausett, The Turley Realty Group, WSHE-FM and WBBM-AM.

According to Catholic Charities, every student (kindergarten through 12th grade) who attended this year’s event received a backpack.

“I wish we never had a need for this (back-to-school fair),” Rammer said, “that people didn’t need the services. But it becomes more vital every single year.”

By Tamara McQueen-Salentine