Backpack Program, Happy Hearts given Pay It Forward donations
Jan 13, 2013 | 1033 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A check is presented for the Backpack program. From left are  Kim Gunter, BECU; Kevin Cummins, Englewood First Church of God pastor; Bill and Lara Crockett, BECU members.
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CALHOUN – BECU members Bill and Lara Crockett, and BECU members Richard and Barbara Randolph have each won $1,000 from BECU for their favorite charities: The Englewood First Church of God “Backpack Program” and “Happy Hearts,” respectively.

BECU has asked its members to nominate their favorite nonprofit helping people in the counties eligible for BECU membership: Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, and Polk. These programs are the fourth and fifth winners of 2012.

The Backpack Program “... provides backpacks of nonperishable food to children in need on Friday afternoons so they will have food throughout the weekend,” wrote the Crocketts.

The church works in partnership with Englewood Elementary School and currently gives out 40 backpacks each weekend, according to church pastor Kevin Cummins.

Englewood First Church of God administers the program with support from Englewood Church of God, Englewood First Baptist Church, Englewood Methodist, and Englewood Christian Church.

“The children are so excited on Fridays knowing they will have food to eat through the weekend,” stated Crockett.

The food in the backpacks is designed to be items the kids can easily put together themselves, ensuring the child won’t have to wait until Monday for their next meal.

Happy Hearts is a program for all citizens 55 and older of Polk County and surrounding counties. On the third Wednesday of every month attendees enjoy fellowship, games, and free services.

The “Happy Hearts” seniors also offer haircuts for home-bound citizens.

“It is a blessing to see these people go away with a smile on their faces, and say they are looking forward to the next ‘Happy Hearts’ gathering,” said coordinator Daphne Milen.

To make your own donation to the Backpack Program, contact Kevin Cummins, pastor at Englewood First Church of God at 423-887-7627.

To make your own donation to support the Happy Hearts gatherings, contact the program coordinator Daphne Milen at 423-715-3115. More information can be found at

The Pay It Forward program will be renewed for 2013, and that means any member of BECU can nominate their favorite nonprofit for a $1,000 Pay It Forward prize. Five prizes will be given out in 2013, and the deadline to be considered for the first prize is February 28th.

BECU began the Pay It Forward program in 2010 as a way to give back to the community it serves. Since the program’s inception, BECU has given $13,000 to various charities making a difference in our community. For more information, visit and look under the “News & Info” tab.

BECU is a federally insured credit union offering savings, checking, loans, and financial education to those who live, work, or go to school in the counties of Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, and Polk.

BECU has three branches, over 14,000 members, and $135 million in assets. To learn more about BECU and its services, call 423-336-7268 or visit