Alpenglow Solar has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity in dedicating the newest home in Heber to the Townley family this Thursday, December 15th. Their home will be equipped with solar panels by Alpenglow Solar to help keep costs low once they are moved in and promote the use of solar energy moving forward.
We are very excited to have them in their new home before the holidays. Here’s some information about The Townley Family.
Samantha and her twin 8-year-old boys will be moving into their beautiful new home in time to celebrate Christmas. This will be the first time that her sons will have their own rooms, which is what they are looking forward to the most. Samantha, however, is most excited to create new traditions for her family that the boys will enjoy for years to come.
When asked about her experience with Habitat and being involved at the build site, Sam explains, “Some people might see this as a hand out, but it’s not. I’ve worked hard on my home and will be paying a mortgage.” She continues, “It’s been great to work on my own home. I’m now more confident about taking care of it.” Her hard work has even become a source of pride for the boys, who love telling people that their mom is helping to build their home.
America First Credit Union
America First Credit Union, Utah’s largest credit union, invites members to skip a loan payment during the holiday months and simultaneously provide shoes for children in need. Marking its 22nd year of giving, the annual Skip a Loan Payment program offers members the opportunity to skip monthly loan payments from November 2016 – January 2017 for $25. America First will donate a portion of the fee to purchase shoes and ‘warm the soles’ of children. Last year, America First has helped provide more 1500 pairs of shoes for children in need through the Skip a Loan Payment program and monetary donations from members.
“This ‘Warm the Soles of Kids’ project gains more momentum every year and we’re so proud to be able to coordinate this annual project with the help of our membership, giving shoes to children in our communities who would otherwise be without,” said John B. Lund, CEO and president of America First. “In its 22nd year, this charitable initiative really speaks to the involvement of our membership and the convenience it offers them during the holiday months, while also giving back to others.”
Monies from Skip a Loan Payment will also benefit America Firsts’ 501(c)3 volunteer service arm, the America First Credit Union Charitable Foundation. The foundation supports charitable organizations that provide job assistance, training, education, transportation and housing as well as meals, clothing and medical attention to those in need. America First is also seeking monetary donations from its members and the community as part of the initiative.
Children from Brigham City, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada, will receive new shoes for the holidays, as America First team members present the gift-wrapped shoes to children from 19 schools and service organizations at special holiday events throughout the month of December.
Bank of American Fork
Thousands of Utah children visit local crisis centers each year. These at-risk children may be the victims of abuse or neglect, their homes may be unlivable or their parents may be unable to take care of their children. One family came to a center without shoes—the spouse of the abused wife and children was suspicious when they would leave home with their shoes on, so they showed up to a crisis center in the snowy winter without shoes so they would have a better chance of getting away from their scary situation.
So, who is taking care of Utah’s at-risk children?
Spanish Fork teen Kameron Snarr has a passion for off-road racing motorcycles and for helping children in need. Sandy Dubois can be found at Bank of American Fork before it opens, is usually the last to leave, and started Project Teddy Bear 17 years ago to help children. Twelve-year-old Kylie wanted to do a service project, and collected 284 stuffed animals to donate to Project Teddy Bear. Three-year-old Hazel even participated, using the coins she earned by doing extra chores at home to purchase a soft pig for a child “who doesn’t have anything to cuddle at night.”
Our communities are made up of Kamerons, Sandys and Kylies. Each year, Utah communities and individuals pull together to collect and donate stuffed animals for Project Teddy Bear, a drive that collects and donates stuffed animals to Utah crisis centers. While crisis centers always need donations of necessities like shampoo, clothing and food, another—often unmet—need is that of something to help children feel support and love. Stuffed animals are used in play therapy, to soothe an upset child or are given to children to help them feel love and comfort.
Today, Bank of American Fork presented 7,918 teddy bears and other stuffed animals to three family support centers in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties as part of the bank’s 17th annual Project Teddy Bear. More than 118,547 stuffed animals have been donated since Project Teddy Bear began—more than 118,547 children have received a bear through this special program.
“Last year, a student in a local school was hit by a car and died. The Family Support and Treatment Center was able to give stuffed animals to each of the students in that child’s class to help give comfort at a hard time,” said Scott Snow, the executive director for The Family Support and Treatment Center in Orem. “Thank you for helping us help those kids.”
“The goal is to give the kids a feeling of being taken care of. We knew we couldn’t change their circumstances completely, but we wanted to help them feel like someone is taking care of them,” said Tracey Kramer, a loan processor at Bank of American Fork who used to work in The Family Support Center’s Midvale crisis nursery. Kramer worked in the center from Sunday evening through Wednesday, where they looked for signs of abuse and made sure the children had three hot meals and a bath. “It’s rewarding work.”
The stuffed animals were donated by customers and community members, and will benefit children who have been abused, are at risk of being abused, or have experienced other traumatic situations. Bank of American Fork attributes the huge number to extraordinary efforts of young people and children who helped collect the bears—truly, children helping children.
At a presentation that took place at the bank’s headquarters in American Fork this morning, Richard Beard, president and CEO of Bank of American Fork, presented the bears to the Salt Lake County Family Support Center, the Utah Valley Family Support & Treatment Center and the Family Connection Center in Clearfield. Beard recognized some of the stand-out givers this year, including:
- Bingham High School—Bingham High collected 125 stuffed animals, thanks in part to student body president Tyler, who invited students to bring a stuffed animal for entrance into the annual talent show, instead of the typical monetary entrance fee.
- American Fork High School Marching Band—Students, parents and faculty donated time to put together boxes, pack up all the stuffed animals and sort the boxes to prepare for tomorrow’s delivery by Bailey’s Moving and Storage.
- Spanish Fork Letterman’s Club—Collected nearly 2,000 stuffed animals this year. Spanish Fork Letterman’s Club has participated in Project Teddy Bear for 11 years, collecting more than 15,000 stuffed animals to date. This year they involved Canyon Elementary.
- Baileys Moving & Storage—Provided all of the boxes, labor and a large moving truck to deliver teddy bears to three support centers.
“An important mission of community banks is caring for those among us who are most vulnerable,” said Beard. “I want to thank the people in our communities, especially the kids. We have needs in our own communities here in Utah and we are honored to help facilitate helping in this way.”
The bears will be transported and delivered to each of the centers thanks to a generous donation of equipment and labor by Bailey’s Moving and Storage.
Utah First Credit Union
Three hundred Guadalupe School students to receive new shoes from Utah First Credit Union
Employees of Utah First Credit Union will be distributing gift wrapped shoe boxes as a holiday present to students
For the second year in a row, Utah First Credit Union will be executing a large scale volunteer and donation project by purchasing, wrapping, and distributing new shoes to Guadalupe School charter students.
Many of these children come from a lower socioeconomic demographic, and are in need of shoes come winter time, which are an added expense.
Utah First Credit Union employees will be at Guadalupe School on Thursday, December 22 at 1 pm to distribute the gift of new shoes to all 300 charter school students.
Damon Burton, a successful Layton business owner, knows too well the benefits that free or reduced breakfasts and lunches provide Utah students. Burton and his six younger siblings were raised in a family that struggled to make ends meet. They moved frequently during his childhood, living in many of the individual cities throughout Davis County during his elementary school years. Free or reduced food programs are often what kept him fed during the day. That’s why he chose to give back this year – and in a big way.
Burton’s itinerant childhood memories begin in his aunt and uncle’s basement in Centerville. From there, elementary through high school, he moved regularly, often annually. He bounced from Bountiful to North Salt Lake to Kaysville, often living in small apartments, basements, or with extended family members.
“Home” was simply the place his family rested together-and he remembers sometimes wondering where the next move would be. But even though his housing was uncertain, his school meals were a “steady” for him, thanks to the free or reduced school breakfast and lunch programs.
“I don’t recall a day going hungry at school,” remarked Burton. “In fact, I regularly looked forward to what was available to eat at school and was eager to get breakfast each morning.”
Now the owner of Layton-based UtahSites.com web design company, Burton feels drawn to give back. With a great appreciation for his years of benefiting from free or reduced food within Davis County schools, Damon Burton emptied his wallet to fill stomachs. His charitable donation paid off all delinquent school lunch debts owed in all 17 of Davis County’s often low-income Title I schools.
“What started as a plan to help out a few families in at least one school led me to consider the whole school,” said Burton. “But once you start helping, how can you stop? So some families in one school became the whole school. Then that school became all schools.”
Low-income families regularly face the challenges of meeting the most basic needs, including food and shelter. With thousands of dollars donated, it is estimated that Burton’s contribution brought unexpected relief to nearly 300 families.
From a simple gesture to help kids like himself, Burton’s selfless act has turned into something bigger than expected. He said that families have reached out to offer their appreciation to him for relieving debts and inspiring others to give as well. That was all the feedback Burton needed.
“If my gesture helps my community and inspires others to help out, that’s more than I could ask for,” said Burton.
VFI Corporate Finance
VFI Corporate Finance, a Utah equipment-leasing company primarily involved in leasing capital assets throughout North America, has donated $2,000 to the Utah Food Bank and $2,000 to The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign. The gifts were a result of annual Thanksgiving donations from the company.
The donation to the Utah Food Bank Annual Holiday Food Drive will help stock the shelves of the food bank and provide emergency food relief to pantries across the state. The donation to the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign will provide people in need with daily meals, clothing, furniture, utility assistance and disaster relief.
“This generous gift from VFI Finance to our Red Kettle Campaign will help make an immediate impact on urgently needed services to our community,” said Captain Troy Trimmer, Salvation Army Salt Lake City Corps.
“As a company we are pleased to support the charitable efforts of these two outstanding service organizations which assist with hunger assistance and meeting the basic physical needs of the less fortunate in our community,” said John Puglisi, President of VFI Corporate Finance.