Bank employees give back for “Neighbors Make the Difference Day”Written by Paige Shermis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 200 Northwest Ohio KeyBank employees left their offices at noon May 22 and went to volunteer at locations such as Trinity Episcopal Church and Toledo Seagate Food Bank as part of KeyBank’s “Neighbors Make the Difference Day.”
This is the 23rd year of KeyBank’s program, which began in Alaska. Today, 8,000 employees, who amount to more than half of the bank’s workforce, volunteered countrywide, said James A. Hoffman, president of KeyBank’s Michigan/Northwest Ohio District.
“Some of the employees talked the to the nonprofits see if they had need and organized teams went to work. Some of the jobs are white collar, and some are blue collar. Employees have a wide variety of places they can choose,” said Hoffman, who volunteers at Mobile Meals each year.
This year, a third of the projects that the KeyBank employees volunteered at were “green,” and involved landscaping, building gardens and cleaning and remediating areas, Hoffman said.
“This is something that more and more our employees and customers are interested in,” he said.
Hoffman said that KeyBank clients are accepting and supportive of the banks’ shortened hours on “Neighbors Make the Difference Day.”
“One of the tricky things is that we end up closing our branches or short-staffing our branches [on the day] … but when [customers] hear that we are volunteering in the community, they are more than understanding. When we reach out the community and help the community be stronger, somehow the bank will benefit from that,” Hoffman said.
One of the locations that KeyBank employees volunteered at was the Ronald McDonald House by Toledo Hospital.
“[The KeyBank employees] went to all of the rooms and the guest rooms, moved furniture, took beds off of the bedframes, washed off all the bedframes, and in the kitchen, they took everything out of the cupboards and washed and organized them. Then, they baked so there were treats for the families,” said Rachel Williams, director of program services at Ronald McDonald House.
Williams said that the charity appreciates the intensive volunteer work.
“They were a great group. Volunteers are the key to us getting stuff done, as we are 100 percent donation funded, and are key to the operations of our house,” Williams said.
John Sherer, coordinator of Pantry Plus, a food bank in Fostoria that allows clients to choose what food items they want, agreed.
“We have a building in downtown Fostoria that we used to use to store the food for the needy. The second floor of the building had gathered junk over the years. … The place looks great compared to how it looked before [KeyBank employees] got there,” he said.
Hoffman said that the bank plans to partake in the program for years to come. He said that the KeyBank employees completed an estimated 30,000 volunteer hours, which is valued at $900,000.