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Make a Difference Event: Fall 2013 Cash, Gift Card, Gas Giveaway
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"I hit the jackpot!”
"Are you serious?”
"I can really use this right now.”
"Thank you. You’ve made my day.”

These are just some of the reactions credit unions received from the more than 900 consumers who were on the receiving end of the Kansas Credit Union Association’s third Make a Difference event.

Credit unions surprised consumers in their communities by giving away $23,000 worth of cash, gift cards or free gas in 10 Kansas locations.

"We don’t do any advance promotion for these events,” said Susan Dyer, Communications Director for the Kansas Credit Union Association. "We feel our efforts have the greatest impact when it’s unexpected. We just want to brighten someone’s day, and hope that those on the receiving end pass it on, so it has a ripple effect in the community.”

The events were spread using the #theCUway hashtag on Facebook and Twitter, as well as word of mouth.

The events were held throughout the day, with the first event beginning at 7:30 a.m, in Manhattan, and the last event beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Emporia. Locations were only revealed on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

View all photos on Flickr

Consumer reactions

In Manhattan
One woman cried the entire time Kansas State University Federal Credit Union pumped her gas. She said she left the house to pay bill today and had to stop and buy gas, so she knew she wasn’t going to have enough money left for her bills. She was so grateful.

One man initially took the money, but before he left he asked KSU FCU to give it to someone that was more in need than he was and thanked the credit union for their service to the community.

Later that day, KSU FCU received a call from a nonmember, who thanked them for helping her daughter this morning. Her daughter was down to her last $5 until payday, until she showed up at the gas station.

In Wichita
Central Star Credit Union reported a mom took the gift card and said she was going to give it to her son who lost his job, and one woman cried after hearing "I would like to make a difference in your day, this gas card has $25 on it and can be used now or anytime you need it.”

At least three hugs were exchanged, lots of thumbs up, high fives and handshakes. One young mother with a baby said "I can really use this right now. Thank you so much.”

In Norton
News traveled fast that the United Northwest Federal Credit Union was giving away money. A couple of people shouted "Woo Hoo!”

In Ness City

One woman came to United Credit Union after she got off work to open a share account with us. Lots of hugs were shared and people really appreciated the money. Some were shocked. One man said "I’ve been to a lot places and seen a lot of things but never seen anything like this,” and continued on to thank the credit union staff.

Olathe (Kansas City)
Mainstreet Credit Union shared this video:

Media coverage

The Wichita Eagle/, Wichita Business Journal, Credit Union Journal, Credit Union Times, Pay it Forward website, CUNA News Now, KVOE radio.

About Make a Difference events

This is the third event in the Kansas Credit Union Association’s Make a Difference campaign.

Representatives from the participating credit unions throughout the state volunteer and coordinate their respective locations for the event.

"These events are a great way for credit unions to put the ‘people helping people’ philosophy in action,” said Dyer. "Credit unions exist to serve their members and support their local communities, and these events illustrate the credit union difference.”

Participating credit unions included:
  • Ark Valley Credit Union
  • Central Star Credit Union
  • Cessna Employees Credit Union
  • Educational Credit Union
  • Emporia State Federal Credit Union
  • EquiShare Credit Union
  • Kansas State University Federal Credit Union
  • Mainstreet Credit Union
  • Medical Community Credit Union
  • Meritrust Credit Union
  • Mid American Credit Union
  • New Century Credit Union
  • Quest Credit Union
  • Reliance Credit Union
  • TECU Credit Union
  • United Northwest Federal Credit Union
  • United Credit Union

The locations and times were:
  • Manhattan, 7:30 a.m.
  • Ness City, 9:00 a.m.
  • Norton, 9:00 a.m.
  • Wichita east, 9:00 a.m.
  • Topeka south, 10:00 a.m.
  • Topeka north, 11:00 a.m.
  • Kansas City area (Olathe), 2:00 p.m.
  • Wichita west, 2:00 p.m.
  • Ark City, 3:00 p.m.
  • Emporia, 4:30 p.m.

The first Make a Difference event was a gas giveaway held in October 2012. The second Make a Difference event, held in May 2013 was an "It’s On Us” event where credit unions bought lunch, coffee or donuts for consumers in their community.

Each event is a surprise. The event and location are not revealed until the day of the event. People could follow the hashtag #theCUway on Facebook or Twitter to find out when and where the next event was happening.

The events have grown in participation. The first event included nine credit unions in six locations. The second event included eleven credit unions in seven locations. This third event included 17 credit unions in 10 locations.

To date, credit unions having given away $45,000 through all three Make a Difference events.