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1st Financial FCU Issues Grant for Community with Special Needs

1st Financial Federal Credit Union (Wentzville) continued its Helping People 1st grant program in August by partnering with Willows Way, Inc.

The Helping People 1st grant program gives 1st Financial Federal Credit Union employees the opportunity to make a difference within their community by issuing a grant each month to a nonprofit organization focused on either housing, financial literacy, job training or education.

The branch employees promote the nonprofit throughout the month. They hold fundraising events and oftentimes volunteer during business hours at the nonprofit. At the end of the month, 1st Financial FCU staffers present the nonprofit with the $500 grant, plus any additional funds the branch was able to raise.

Headquartered in St Charles, Willows Way is a nonprofit agency serving individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. Willows Way provides individualized in-home support and day programming to over 130 individuals. Willows Way also presents evening classes to more than 1,200 individuals each year. These courses focus on social, educational and physical activities, which help integrate Willows Way clients to their community and allows them to lead fuller, more independent lives.

“Willows Way is very grateful for the generous support from 1st Financial Federal Credit Union,” said Joy Steele, executive director of Willows Way. “Over the course of July, 1st Financial FCU raised a substantial amount of money on behalf of our agency. Even further, they engaged in marketing activities that helped enhance the community’s awareness of the work we do.”

Steele explained that their clients have very fixed incomes, and the funds raised by 1st Financial FCU will provide emergency financial assistance, such as utility and housing assistance.

In order to promote the fundraising efforts, the St. Charles branch hosted an art gallery made up of paintings completed by the individuals served through Willows Way. Additionally, the St. Charles branch sold popcorn and candy, held a hot dog cookout and raffled off a date night basket to raise more donations for Willows Way. The St. Charles branch presented a check totaling $1049.82 to the grant recipient. 

“The staff here at St. Charles really enjoyed raising money and awareness for Willows Way during the month of July,” says Chuck Holmes, branch manager of the 1st Financial FCU in St. Charles. “It was a great cause because so many of us take our health for granted while there are people out there that need help with the basics. We had a lot of fun with all of the activities each week and I think some of the staff might have even gained a few pounds supporting the candy fundraiser.”

Caption: Pictured are Darcie Brand,of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, Chuck Holmes, branch manager of the St. Charles Branch, Joy Steele, executive director of Willows Way, Tom Bay, director of Programs at Willows Way, Mandy Fix and Shelitta Hairlson, both of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union.

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