Helping children has always been a key component of American Heritage Credit Union’s mission. And, now the financial institution is helping Salus University continue their work for children in need. The credit union has donated $25,000 to keep the University’s Big Red Bus (BRB) on the road. The BRB, the University’s traveling healthcare facility on wheels, travels to schools in the greater Philadelphia area to offer vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams to students.
 
American Heritage donation to SalusCurrently, the bus includes a full examination lane, pre-testing area and optical area and is on the road two to three times a week from October through the end of the school year. On average, 20 children per visit receive comprehensive eye examinations, sometimes including dilation. And, two pairs of prescription glasses are dispensed within two to three weeks if necessary.
 
“It’s important for us to do things for the community, that’s a big piece of what we do. It’s our heart,” said Donna Handel, vice president of Business Development of American Heritage. “This is going to benefit the kids and I’m really excited about that.”
 
The credit union is quite familiar with helping children. It created the Kids-N-Hope Foundation in 1996, the first credit union in the country to form its own charitable organization. The impetus for Kids-N-Hope was a visit by American Heritage's CEO, Bruce Foulke to the Children’s Seashore House of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. When he saw the good work the medical staff were providing to disabled and handicapped children, he was inspired to help.
 
The first “ray of hope” donated by the Kids-N-Hope Foundation to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was in the form of a music therapy program. The funds were used to purchase instruments and hire a full-time music therapist. Music provides these physically challenged children with a means to express themselves, creatively and emotionally. Since then, the credit union has continued to increase and expand their impact on the communities they serve similar to the University’s Looking Out for Kids initiative
 
Jacqueline Patterson, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Community Relations at Salus, said the American Heritage donation will go directly to maintaining the BRB. “We’re excited that American Heritage Credit Union will be the only financial institution logo on the bus, so they’ll be part of the community,” said Patterson.

She added that the University is in the process of purchasing a new BRB, which she hopes will be delivered in the second quarter of 2023.
 
The 15th annual LOFK charity fundraiser will be held Saturday, November 12, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. All proceeds raised from the event will benefit the University’s clinical program’s continued efforts to provide comprehensive vision care services and eye glasses to underserved and uninsured children in the community in addition to hearing services.