The Tennessee Credit Union League (TCUL) has embraced the holiday season. On Friday, November 17, credit unions across Tennessee teamed up to gift shoppers with free groceries in preparation for Thanksgiving.
Locally, this act of kindness was expressed at United Grocery Outlet in Cleveland, TN. The goal of the event was to catch people as they approached the checkout line, gifting them with the groceries they had in their cart. Credit Unions of Tennessee bought $1,500 worth of groceries for over 30 Cleveland families.
This isn’t the first time Tennessee Credit Unions have coordinated an event like this. In 2016, the league donated $10,000 to buy groceries across Tennessee. For this recent grocery buy, the Tennessee Credit Unions donated $12,000. Credit Unions exist to help the people in their community, which is why the Pay It Forward events are so important to them.
“Credit unions truly are about serving others, and the surprise grocery buy was a great way for us all to live that mission and spread the word in our communities,” said Kim Gunter, the Marketing VP at Bowater Credit Union.
Debbie, a Cleveland local, was moved by the event. Filled with emotion, Debby shared, “I just thank the Lord for these blessings. My husband just had a kidney transplant and a stroke and he’s blind. We struggle at the end of the month.”
The goal was to help as many people as possible, while inspiring those in the community to spread kindness. Ed Sharp, another recipient of the grocery buy, did just that.
“The church I go to is in downtown Cleveland, First Cumberland, and on Wednesday mornings we open up to give hygiene items and food to homeless and the needy, so all of this will go to them,” Sharp stated.
Those who helped at the event were just as cheered as the recipients.
“It was so touching to see how much joy we could bring the people, and how much happiness it brought the volunteers in return,” Kim stated.
Bridget Forrester of My Mix 104.1 was on site to cover the event and share stories live on the air.
Credit Unions of Tennessee is a united effort of credit unions across the state to give back to the communities we serve, and to spread the credit union mission of People Helping People. Credit Unions are not-for-profit, member owned, cooperative financial institutions. Over 2 million Tennessee residents are members of a credit union.