Community Service

CU Aids Homeless and Hungry

Georgia United CU staff use vacation days for the good of the local community.

April 18, 2012
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Presidents’ Day may be a day off from work for many workers, but for more than 200 employees of Georgia United Credit Union it has become a day to give back to the community.

Since 2010,Georgia United employees have helped thousands of hungry and homeless Georgia residents as part of the $900 million asset institution’s TEAM Day of training and motivation.

That first year, credit union employees donated 2,000 meal or personal care kits. This year Georgia United employees doubled the effort by assembling 2,000 meal kits and 2,000 personal care kits (shown above) to donate to the Gateway Center of Atlanta.

The Gateway Center is Atlanta’s largest homeless services organization and has helped more than 40,000 homeless individuals over the past six years.

Why get involved? “We are a service organization,” Georgia United President/CEO Warren Butler explains. “It made perfect sense to use this opportunity to allow all our employees to take an active role serving others in our community.”

Georgia United CU

The credit union also is holding a food drive in addition to its annual TEAM Day outreach.

“Reaching Out, Giving Back—Help Georgia United Can Hunger,” encourages all Georgia United branches to collect canned food for local food banks. The goal: collect at least four tons of food—more than 9,000 cans—during the two months following TEAM Day.

Kim Wall, Georgia United’s community development director, says the credit union recently passed its initial goal of four tons of food, and is now aiming for five tons to be collected by April 30.

As an added incentive, all Georgia United members will be entered into a drawing for an iPad with every can they donate.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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