Challenge accepted and met

Champion Credit Union collects more than $18,000 in donations for Share the Warmth
Jan 08, 2013

Just a month ago, Champion Credit Union issued a challenge to the public to help them raise money for the Share the Warmth program, which helps to ensure people in the area stay warm every winter.

The credit union offered to contribute up to $10,000 in matching funds for donation to the Mountain Projects Community Action Agency, earmarked to provide heating assistance to residents in Haywood and Jackson counties, and before December was over, that amount had been met.

Noralynn Grindstaff, Champion Credit Union marketing and communications manager, said not only was the $10,000 goal met in that time period but the community gave more than $18,000 to the campaign. With the $10,000 contribution from Champion, Share the Warmth will receive $28,000 and counting.

“People were coming in making donations all day long. They just really stepped up,” she said. “We still have donations coming in, and we will continue accepting them.”

One member who donated to the campaign was particularly proud of her ability to give back because at this time last year, she was a recipient of the Share the Warmth program.

“She was able to give a donation this year,” Grindstaff said.

Although there were several large individual donations made to the campaign, the number of people who gave smaller amounts really added up quickly, Grindstaff said, allowing Champion to match funds with the full $10,000 amount.

The money is coming at a good time, when state funds have mostly run out and there are still several months to go in the winter season.

“It will be a tremendous help,” said Mountain Projects Executive Director Patsy Dowling. “The hardest thing for a human services person to do is to turn someone away who is in need.”

Many of Mountain Projects’ clients include the elderly and disabled, and Dowling said they are starting to see a lot of utility disconnects only halfway through the winter. Because state funds allotted for heating assistance can only be given out once a year to a household, Dowling said they rely on donations from the community for help when that money runs out.

“We would not have had a way to help them again without donations,” she explained. “I’m always amazed at the generosity of the folks of Haywood County. I don’t know how to put it into words. I thank this county for their compassion for their neighbors.”

Grindstaff said the campaign is Champion’s way of giving back and staying involved in the needs of the community, and Share the Warmth was an obvious choice because “that need is just so prevalent here.”

“Without our community, we wouldn’t be in business here. We’re here to be there for the community,” she said.

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