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CoastHills employees are 'All In' to support local nonprofits

by Joshua D. Scroggin
June 23, 2016
Central Coast Rescue Mission

Jeff Aldridge was 13 years old when his youth group volunteered at a rescue mission in Santa Barbara. 

“I remember talking to a guy,” Jeff said. “He was homeless, and he was so thankful that we took the day to come hang out and serve him food. That really stuck with me because we were kids that grew up in Vandenberg Village, and we didn’t have to worry where our next meal was coming from. And he didn’t have anything.”

That touching experience is why Jeff — a member services officer at CoastHills Credit Union’s branch in Orcutt — decided to help a similar organization when given the chance.

Jeff was one of three employees who gave $1,000 sponsorships as part of our “I’m All In” initiative, an employee giving program run by the CoastHills Community Foundation. It’s funded completely through donations that come straight from our staff’s own paychecks.

Jeff chose to support the Central Coast Rescue Mission in Santa Maria, an 18-bed drug and alcohol recovery program. It’s also so much more.

In addition to the recovery classes, the men enrolled also volunteer to serve in the program’s community outreach efforts. The Rescue Mission runs a thrift store, a food pantry that serves about 100 families and a commercial-quality kitchen that provides meals for the homeless and especially ramps up during the holidays.

Of the men that complete the program, 90 percent remain clean and go on to live productive lives, director Larry Cooney said.

“About half come off the streets and the other half come out of the courts,” Larry said. “We want the judges to be able to say, ‘Man, I hope there’s a bed available because that’s where you’re going to get some help.”

The CoastHills Community Foundation is the charitable fundraising arm of the credit union. Employees who choose to participate can donate as much or as little as they’d like to. When "I'm All In" was introduced back in December, more than 90 percent of CoastHills’ 230 employees opted in. 

The high participation rate allowed us to give three separate $1,000 sponsorships in the first quarter of 2016. Employee names were selected from a jar, and those folks got to choose the beneficiaries for the entire group.

Jeff chose the Central Coast Rescue Mission. Telecommunications specialist Wayne Copes decided to support the Central Coast Music Academy. And member services officer Karla Gonzalez gave her money to her old elementary school — the one her son currently attends — Fairlawn Elementary in Santa Maria.

At this week’s staff meeting, three more names were drawn, and three more lucky employees will get the chance to dole out another round of $1,000 donations. We’ll keep you posted on their selections. 

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