Mainstreet CU picked up the tab at Z's Divine Espresso in Lawrence.
Breana Thurston, Meritrust CU; Sarah Knolla, Mid American CU and Gail Adamo, Central Start CU at Tanya's Soup Kitche in Wichita.
Kendra Baker, United NW Federal CU, right, at Town and Country Kitchen paying for customer purchases in Norton, KS.
There’s an old saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” But this week, in 11 Kansas communities, there was a free lunch (or breakfast, or coffee, etc).
Today (and on Tuesday, May 13), 16 credit unions in 11 Kansas communities surprised consumers by picking up the tab at designated restaurants, or offering customers gift cards to cover their meal. It was all part of a statewide, collaborative event coordinated by the Kansas Credit Union Association as part of the Make a Difference campaign.
The events are designed to illustrate the credit union philosophy of people helping people, and bring awareness of the value credit unions provide to their communities.
“Not only were credit unions surprising the people who live in their community, they were also supporting local businesses,” said Susan Dyer, Director of Communications at the Kansas Credit Union Association. “Many of the businesses where the events were held were locally owned establishments.”
Communities and locations:
Tuesday, May 13
Topeka, Juli’s Coffee & Bistro
Thursday, May 15
Lawrence: Z’s Divine Espresso
Manhattan: Bluestem Bistro
Norton: Town & Country Kitchen
Marysville: Crome’s Market, Toledo’s Deli, Community Memorial Healthcare Lunchroom, CJ Express
Wichita: Tanya’s Soup Kitchen and Wasabi West
Ness City: Pizza Plus
Augusta: Playa Azul
El Dorado: Susie's Chili Parlor
Newton: The Breadbasket
Arkansas City: Sirloin Stockade
Each location had between $750 and $1000 to use to pay for customer’s purchases, or give them a gift card.
Some patrons were wary, but at the Manhattan location, one person wanted to turn around a buy coffee for the Kansas State University Federal Credit Union staff.
At the Wichita Wasabi location, one man came up to the group a couple of times, and even said "this makes me want to join a credit union," and then he asked about how to join.
One credit union reported gaining three new members who had been on the receiving end of the free lunch.
Representatives from 16 credit unions throughout the state volunteered for the event.
This is the fourth in a series of events. To date, Kansas credit unions have given away $55,500 to consumers through these types of events. Other events included two gas giveaways (held in October 2012 and October 2013), and a similar “It’s On Us” event in May 2013.