Community

Collins Community Credit employees donates to HACAP program that feeds kids

Volunteers from Collins Community Credit Union help unpack boxes of food that will be used for HACAP's Backpack Program.
Volunteers from Collins Community Credit Union help unpack boxes of food that will be used for HACAP’s Backpack Program. The group donated more than $2,000 last week and then volunteered at HACAP’s food reservoir. (Photo courtesy of Plaid Swan)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Employees of Collins Community Credit Union put their muscles behind a donation last week to HACAP as they helped unpack and sort food items for the nonprofit’s Backpack Program for elementary students.

The 12 Collins employees who volunteered last Wednesday presented a $2,425 check to HACAP for the program, which provides students in need with single-serving food items every Friday to ensure they have food over the weekend.

Karen Ultis, community outreach director with the credit union, said employees regularly volunteer at the nonprofit by putting together emergency food boxes, but this was the first time they had donated and volunteered for the backpack program.

“It was so much fun,” Ultis said. “Not only did we donate money, but we showed up to help. We also had employees who hadn’t volunteered before. You get so much more when you are doing the hands-on work.”

The employees who raise money for charities through their “Casual for a Cause” program make different charity requests on where the money goes. Each participating employee agrees to have a $10 payroll deduction each month to wear jeans on Friday, and that money is given to a nonprofit.

Ultis said the group put together between 800 and 1,000 backpacks during the event, following the check presentation last week.

The HACAP program serves elementary-age kids from 76 schools in seven counties in Iowa, said Hailey Carr, school program and volunteer coordinator with the nonprofit. The backpacks of food cost about $5, and more than 2,200 students are signed up for the program. The program is 100 percent funded through donations, she said.

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Anyone interested in donating or getting involved with the Backpack Program can call (319) 393-7811 or email operationbackpack@hacap.org.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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