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‘Coins for a Cause’ at Baxter credit union to fight hunger

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union members and the community are invited to donate curbside their spare change at the Baxter credit union during the Friday, Dec. 10, fundraiser to help combat hunger this holiday season. Donations will go to Second Harvest North Central Food Bank and other Feeding America food banks.

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A person costumed as a Visa card waves while standing next to a "Coins for a Cause" collection canister at an Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union branch at a previous year's fundraiser to combat hunger. Contributed / Jamy Olson

Want to make a big difference with just a little spare change?

Coins will be collected curbside from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in Baxter during its second “Coins for a Cause” fundraiser to help feed the hungry.

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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

“Put that pesky change to good use by donating to neighbors in need this holiday season. Donations will go to Second Harvest Heartland or a local Feeding America food bank serving your community,” said Paige Comer, an Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union marketing assistant.

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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.

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“We've done other fundraising for food banks in the past. But this is our second year where it's been called ‘Coins for a Cause’ and where we've partnered with different food banks,” said Jamy Olson, branch manager of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in Baxter.

Olson said about $2,000 was collected from donors at the Baxter branch during last year’s fundraiser to alleviate food insecurity, and the credit union matched that amount with a donation.

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Jenna Brand, a member advisor at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in Baxter, stands next to the barrel she decorated for the 2020 "Coins for a Cause" fundraiser at the inaugural collection drive in the Brainerd lakes area to combat hunger. Contributed / Jamy Olson

“This time last year, we were still trying to really limit our in-person contact so we had the collection barrel outside,” Olson said Wednesday. “It will be outside on Friday for people who want to just pull up and do a contactless drop-off of their coins.”

Due to the pandemic, demand on local food banks has remained high and over half a million Minnesotans are still experiencing hunger, according to Affinity Plus officials.


“Your loose coins will translate into meals for people right here in our town.”

— Jamy Olson


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“Every dollar donated helps and provides three meals to Minnesotans experiencing hunger,” Comer said.

Affinity Plus will match up to $25,000 in monetary donations to Minnesota food banks. More than a half-million Minnesotans are experiencing hunger across the state, according to officials.

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“Your loose coins will translate into meals for people right here in our town,” Olson said. “We're excited to see not just our members, but members of our community come on in and make a donation.”

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

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“Due to the pandemic and just over time, the demand on our local food banks has been very, very high,” Olson said.

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.

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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


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“Even though we are, like, a Twin Cities-based credit union, when you give your money here in Brainerd, it's going to stay here within our counties that are nearby, which is great to hear that we're really supporting our friends and neighbors through these tough times,” Olson said.

Volunteers will be in the parking lot collecting donations and providing holiday gift bags to the first 50 donors on Friday’s curbside donation day.


“Put that pesky change to good use by donating to neighbors in need this holiday season.”

— Paige Comer


“It will have a little piggy bank in there … and then a voucher for four tickets to the GLOW Holiday Festival, which is held at the state fairgrounds and that's an $83 value for those tickets,” Olson said of the first-come, first-serve, limited supply gift bags.

People can also bring a check or cash to donate in person at the branch and not just coins, or use a credit card to donate at www.affinityplus.org/coins .

“We do free coin-cashing for our members, which is something you don't find everywhere these days, so we've been able to tell our members about the fact that we are going to be collecting coins when they have been bringing in their coins to cash in for themselves,” Olson said.

Donation details

  • What: “Coins for a Cause” curbside donation day.

  • When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10.

  • 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: www.affinityplus.org/coins .

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at frank.lee@brainerddispatch.com . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .

Related Topics: FOODTHINGS TO DOCENTERPIECE
I cover arts and entertainment, and write feature stories, for the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. As a professional journalist with years of experience, I have won awards for my fact-based reporting. And my articles have also appeared in other publications, including USA Today. 📰
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