SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union responds to the El Dorado County community affected by the Caldor fire

Contribution to the upper room dining hall provided residents a shaded area to gather

PLACERVILLE, CALIF (September 27, 2021) — The community of El Dorado County united together to support those displaced by the raging Caldor fire. Meals, essential services and funds from local businesses benefited residents fleeing their homes.

Responding to the crisis, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union partnered with Upper Room Dining Hall, a local non-profit which serves greater El Dorado County by providing meals and vital services to those in need. The Upper Room Dining Hall at the Placerville Walmart parking lot has served 4,000 meals. Volunteers at the location expressed a need for an outdoor space where evacuees can come to sit, comfort and talk with one another.

“There was an immediate need to not only serve the community with basic necessities such as food, water and shelter, but to address their emotional well-being,” said Bill Cheney, CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. “Creating an inviting outdoor space while sharing a meal allows people to connect in a comfortable environment. With the addition of outdoor furniture, evacuees gathered, talked and supported each other.”

Now that the Caldor fire has changed course, residents are returning to their homes, but the call for assistance is still present.

“People made their way to the Walmart parking lot with a few belongings, their pets, and overwhelming fear. It was a grim situation for everyone, it still is” said Charlie McDonald, Executive Director of Upper Room Dining Hall. “Sitting down to a meal, sharing conversation and exchanging community comradery offers a glimmer of hope. There are so many unknowns, but knowing we are here to support each other is the first step to moving forward and healing from this tragedy.”

For more information on how residents can help or receive assistance, contact Upper Room Dining Hall at (530) 497-5146. Donations of non-perishable and fresh food, personal care items and camping supplies are welcome.

About SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union

SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union is the fifth largest credit union in the country and has been recognized by Forbes as the number one credit union in California for five consecutive years. Serving school employees and their families, the organization is dedicated to delivering World-Class Personal Service and improving the financial lives of its Members. Today they serve more than 1.3 million Members with a full range of financial products and services. SchoolsFirst FCU was founded in 1934, when 126 school employees pooled $1,200 and established a Member-owned cooperative to help improve each other's lives. In 2024, the Credit Union reported more than $30 billion in assets and remains the largest credit union in California. For more information about SchoolsFirst FCU, visit Insured by NCUA.

About Upper Room Dining Hall

The Upper Room Dining Hall has been providing free meals to the El Dorado County since 2002. The organization is a non-profit, 501c3 that partners with more than 16 different faith based and civic organizations in the local community. Their mission states, “Motivated by love and grace, volunteers at the Upper Room Dining Hall provide meals to the hungry members of our community 365 days a year regardless of race, religion, age, gender, national origin or income, treating guests with dignity and compassion.”


Larry Meltzer

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