Family, friends, our health, a roof over our heads and a meal on our table...it's not difficult to come up with reasons we are thankful this holiday season. At Bank Independent, our Helping Hands program reminds us throughout the year of not only these blessings, but also those in our community who may not share them.
Bank Independent's Helping Hands program began in 2011. When tornadoes swept across North Alabama on April 29, many our team members immediately stepped up and looked for ways to help their neighbors; they used vacation and personal time to volunteer. The concept of Helping Hands came from these requests.
Since 2011, each employee gets eight hours of paid volunteer time to give back to the communities we serve through organized volunteer efforts. We've had many opportunities to do this in 2016, and for this, we are very thankful.
Here are a few memories from this year's Helping Hands efforts:
Our February drive to collect pet food and supplies for area shelters has been one of our employees' favorites. So many of us hold a special place in our hearts for our pets and for our furry friends that don't yet have homes. Knowing that our community's donations are going to help those animals get the care they need from our local shelters is truly a blessing.
We chose to hold our Food Share food collection drive in May to help local food banks stock up for the summer, when many school children don't have access to meals like they do during the school year. Our partner organizations are always thrilled to be able to fill their shelves with the donations from our customers and friends, and we're thankful to be able to facilitate their giving.
Every year parents are faced with the challenge of purchasing a long list of school supplies for each of their children. For some, it's an impossible task. We enjoy being able to spearhead a drive that provides local families with the school supplies they need to start the school year. These past two years we've been blessed to partner with the Methodist churches and the big bright bus that really calls attention to our collection efforts! We're thankful that we have the opportunity to make the beginning of school a little better for families in our footprint.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Last year we asked our Facebook friends the question, "For whom do you where pink?" They responded with nearly 1000 names of loved ones who had survived, were fighting, or had been lost to breast cancer. To honor these brave women and men, the Bank donated $1 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama for each tribute. In 2016, we were inundated with even more tributes, and our donation rose to $1100. Our favorite part of this effort is inviting our own team members who have fought and prevailed to present our donation. We are thankful that these strong women are part of the Bank Independent family.
One Table Event
Yesterday was our first time in the One Table event as both volunteers and the primary sponsor. This incredible effort of the Causeway Huntsville organization brings folks from all walks of life and all areas of the community together to serve one another and share a meal at one, long, communal table. It was one of the most humbling and authentic Thanksgiving experiences ever! (Photo courtesy of Bob Gathany/bgathany@AL.com)
Our last annual collection effort, Toy Share, is already in full swing, and every Bank Independent office is accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys. Our partner organizations will share these toys with local families just in time for Christmas morning surprises. This is our sixth year of sharing, and our customers, neighbors and friends exceed our expectations every year. We're thankful for your generosity!
But most of all, this year we're thankful for our amazing team members and our valued customers, without whom Bank Independent wouldn't be the same.
From our family to yours, we wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving holidays!