JAY – On Oct. 21, 2021, credit unions in countries all over the world celebrated the 73rd Anniversary of International Credit Union Day. This year, OTIS Federal Credit Union employees chose to commemorate this unique holiday with a weeklong campaign of Random Acts of Kindness.
Armed with a budget of $2,000, a committee of nine employees took turns visiting various establishments all over OTIS FCU’s field of membership—from Rangeley to Turner and points between—and surprising individuals and organizations with groceries, gas, meals, baked goods, fuel assistance, donations, and more. Each employee was permitted to spend their allocated funds at their discretion while covering their respective geographic area.
Stephanie Nichols, teller and Lindsay Castonguay, loan officer performed Random Acts of Kindness in the Jay/Livermore Falls area, purchasing pastries from local business Chretien’s Kitchen to deliver to the four schools in RSU 73.
“The secretaries at the schools accepted the pastries with such appreciation and thanks,” commented Nichols. “It felt great to give back to the community.” Nichols and Castonguay also purchased groceries and gas for various individuals at Hannaford in Jay, Food City in Livermore Falls, and CN Brown in Livermore Falls.
Brenda Bryant, teller/supervisor back-up and Courtney Nightingale, teller; spread kindness throughout the Turner/Livermore/Jay areas, paying for a meal at Terry & Maxine’s in Turner, and then stopping by Greenwood Orchards in Turner to pick up a number of pies, breads, cookies, and gallons of cider. From there, Bryant and Nightingale surprised the staff of the Livermore Town Office, the Turner Fire Department, and the Turner Vet Clinic with the various goodies. The pair ended the day by purchasing groceries for a woman at Hannaford in Jay and paying for a woman’s gas at Jay Diesel and Gas.
Kimberly Couture, Collections/Payment Specialist, covered the Jay/Wilton/Farmington areas. Couture was accompanied by her husband Joseph M. Couture II, a longtime OTIS member. After purchasing grocery items at Hannaford, the Coutures made surprise deliveries to the Wilton Area Food Pantry and to the Care and Share Food Closet in Farmington. The two then stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts in Farmington, purchasing a Box O’ Joe, donuts, and muffins which they then delivered to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.
Carrie Judd, teller supervisor; and Jannell Pomeroy, teller; spread kindness throughout the Hartford and Canton communities. After picking up four boxes of baked goods from Berry Fruit Farm in Livermore Falls, Judd and Pomeroy made surprise deliveries to the Hartford Elementary School, to linemen working in the rain in Canton, to Pinnacle Rehabilitation Center in Canton, and to the employees of Canton Variety. The two also surprised various individuals throughout the area by paying for gas and groceries.
Kim Turner, president/CEO, covered the New Vineyard/Carrabassett Valley/Kingfield areas, making surprise grocery purchases at Mountainside Grocers and Ayotte’s Country Store in Carrabassett Valley. At Our Village Market in New Vineyard, she paid for the food order of a gentleman in line, as well as all outstanding food orders. At Irving in Kingfield, Turner filled an unsuspecting woman’s gas tank. “[But] the RAK that completely made my afternoon,” said Turner, was stopping into Dead River in Kingfield and anonymously paying $100 towards the fuel bill of an area mother of three young children who is currently battling cancer. “There are no words to explain how touched I was [to be able to do this].”
Sarah Hayes, director of marketing and communications, covered the Phillips/Rangeley areas. Hayes chose to donate a $100 check to the Rangeley Friends of the Arts CASA (Creative After School Arts) Program, housed at the Lakeside Theater in Rangeley. The program is free of charge to students in grades 5-12 who are interested in the performance arts, and is entirely funded by grants and private donations. CASA offers musical instrument lessons to its attendees, as well as workshops in theater performance and operations, music and performance, graphic arts, fine arts and design, digital media, creative writing, and community service. Hayes spent the remainder of her funds surprising shoppers at the Rangeley IGA and at Edmunds’ Market in Phillips.
Hayes said of the initiative: “This is the second International Credit Union Day that OTIS has commemorated with a week-long Random Acts of Kindness campaign, and we are thrilled that we have more than doubled the number of those participating here at the Credit Union. The last year and a half has proven difficult and trying for so many – we couldn’t think of a more appropriate time than now to take to the community and to spread some love and kindness. At OTIS, and at all other credit unions throughout the world, ‘people helping people’ is what we do every day – it is our ‘why,’ our reason for being. With our RAK campaign, we wanted to take that help one step further and really demonstrate to those living within our field of membership what being part of a credit union community is all about.” Added Turner, “International Credit Union Day is a great time to reflect on the mission of credit unions throughout the world and to be part of a movement that is not only focused on helping consumers be financially savvy, but one that has a deep concern for the success of the communities that credit unions exist in and serve. By being out in the communities we serve, providing Random Acts of Kindness, especially on International Credit Union Day, it was a win-win for everyone.”