Baxter credit union collects ‘Coins for a Cause,’ combats hunger

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union members and the community are invited to donate their spare change at the Baxter credit union during the fundraiser to help combat hunger this holiday season. Donations will go to Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and other Feeding America food banks.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in Baxter is collecting spare change for its "Coins for a Cause" fundraiser to combat hunger this holiday season. Submitted photo

A little loose change can mean a lot to someone who is hungry.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in Baxter is alleviating food insecurity with its “Coins for a Cause” fundraiser to help feed the hungry by collecting coins from donors.

“Put that pesky change to good use by donating to neighbors in need this holiday season. Food banks need our help now, more than ever before. The demand has more than tripled in many of our communities,” said Hillary Kline, a spokesperson for Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.

The St. Paul-based not-for-profit banking institution teamed up with FOX 9, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank of Grand Rapids and other food banks for the fundraiser. The in-person donation event will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, at the Baxter credit union.

“Donations will go to Second Harvest ... or a local Feeding America food bank serving your community. Every dollar donated helps provide three meals to Minnesotans experiencing hunger,” Kline said.


Heather Isle of Sourcewell (left), Lori Cronquist of Crow Wing County Community Services and Kelly Patton of Sourcewell load a vehicle with food from the Pop-Up Produce Pantry Monday, April 27, in the Westgate Mall parking lot. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank partnered with Essentia Health and Crow Wing Energized earlier this year to offer free food at the Westgate Mall pop-up produce pantries.

“The money that you donate at your local bank will go to a local food bank. We also, of course, will collect cash. And we can also take donations right from people’s accounts, or using a Visa debit or credit card as well,” said Jamy Olson, branch manager of Affinity Plus in Baxter.

Second Harvest North Central Food Bank serves more than 100 hunger relief agencies in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, Koochiching, Kanabec and Mille Lacs counties in North Central Minnesota.

“We know that taking these donations is really important right now because hunger and demand on local food banks have more than tripled during the pandemic,” Olson said.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union will match the donations for a grand total of $25,000 for local food banks.

“What we did is we set up a barrel outside, so you can actually just drive right up and dump your coins right in, so it is contactless, which is really nice during these pandemic times,” Olson said. “We have our barrel out collecting coins all week.”


Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union's "Coins for a Cause" spare change collection drive uses a collection barrel so donors can drop off their coins curbside and contactless. Submitted photo

Second Harvest has access to thousands of pounds of produce during the growing season of July through September. The abundance of produce is largely due to the Farm to Food Shelf Program that supports donations of produce grown in the state.

“For every dollar you donate, Second Harvest can turn that into three meals because they have such a good network of being able to move and receive food,” Olson said.

Donors can bring their coins to the designated spot in the Baxter credit union’s parking lot during Friday’s in-person, five-hour event, and the first 50 donors will receive a gift bag from Affinity Plus, FOX 9 and Cub Foods.

“We will have someone out there to greet you — again, keeping it contactless, you’ll just put your money into the barrel, but then we will have a little gift bag, a little treat for you, for coming down and doing your donation,” Olson said.

Donors can also enter a FOX 9 sweepstakes to win a Minnesota resort getaway or a $100 Cub Foods gift card. The collection barrels will have a QR code; scan the code with a smartphone and receive a prompt to enter the sweepstakes.


“When you think about your dollar equaling three meals, then we match it with our dollar, your dollar really is going to go to six meals during this time, so you can really make a difference for people,” Olson said of Second Harvest and the Affinity Plus match of donations.

Donation details

  • What: “Coins for a Cause” spare change collection drive.

  • When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11.

  • Where: Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, 15524 Edgewood Drive, Baxter.

  • Who: Affinity Plus, FOX 9, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and others.

  • More info: .

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write features stories for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. The weekly newspaper is owned by Forum Communications Co.
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