|To mark the DE Day of Service, Carolina Foothills FCU staff worked for several hours on the home and yard of Rose Gilliam of Spartanburg. Ms. Gilliam is pictured with the group in the blue shirt in the front left.
On June 14, a group of volunteers from Carolina Foothills FCU (CFFCU) delivered Christmas a few months early to Spartanburg resident Rose Gilliam. The presents came in the form of much-needed home repairs and improvements to the home of the 65-year-old retired cafeteria worker.
The credit union effort, which was coordinated through the group Christmas in Action, was part of the Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE) Day of Service. Held the second Wednesday of each June, the Day of Service encourages CUDEs across the world to complete a service project in order to improve the lives of members and local communities.
“As a 24-year veteran of the Credit Union Development Educator program, I was more than happy to join with thousands of other DEs across the globe to make a difference,” said Terri Hendrix, vice president of business development and community engagement for CFFCU. “There is real power in numbers, and having many of my co-workers supporting it with their own sweat equity makes us an even more cohesive team!”
The 65-year-old Gilliam has lived in her California Avenue home in Spartanburg for more than 22 years. Prior to her retirement, Gilliam worked in the cafeterias at Arcadia and Dorman Center Schools for 28 years, including 10 as a manager.
Despite temperatures that were a not very Christmas like 90 degrees by afternoon, the Carolina Foothills crew made a variety of repairs and enhancements to Gilliam's home, including replacing rotted window framing on the back of the house, trimming tree limbs and cleaning up the yard. The group also provided a much needed coat of paint to the trim and shutters of the home.
As a retiree living on a fixed income, Gilliam was unable to pay for repairs out of pocket. A variety of health problems also limits her ability to maintain the property. The Carolina Foothills effort was one part of a multi-step repair and improvement project on the home.
Christmas in Action is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates the houses of elderly, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged homeowners, to provide for their continued safety and independence. Founded in 1996, the organization mobilizes volunteers to complete repairs and improvements to the homes of those who cannot afford to make them. According to Census Bureau data, some 3,500 Spartanburg County homeowners are elderly and impoverished.
President/CEO Scott Weaver notes that volunteerism is a key strength for the CFFCU staff. “From the board down to the teller line, our credit union not only talks about working to make our community stronger, we actually roll up our shelves and do it! This is the third year our management team has performed a day of service; everyone enjoys it, we like seeing the results and it makes us feel connected to the community.”