Bank Employees Reach Out At Holidays
Dec 27, 2011
Seven years ago, Joan Lonsdale, an accounting assistant at the Biddeford office of Biddeford Savings, wanted to do more at the holidays to help spread cheer beyond her family and friends.
Biddeford, ME – Seven years ago, Joan Lonsdale, an accounting assistant at the Biddeford office of Biddeford Savings, wanted to do more at the holidays to help spread cheer beyond her family and friends. In the intervening years, Joan and a group of bank employees established the Adopt-A-Family program and Christmas party, two efforts that reach beyond the bank’s walls to provide gifts, food, and holiday joy to families in need as well as elderly residents of a local assisted living facility.
Little did she know that her efforts would eventually touch close to her own home.
“We gathered a group of employees, formed a committee, and discussed what we could do to help local families during the holidays,” recalls Joan. “We decided to hold a food drive during Thanksgiving and ‘adopt’ some needy families during the Christmas holidays by providing clothes, toys, and household gifts.”
During the year, the bank employees hold bottle drives, craft fairs, yard sales and other small events to raise funds. As November approaches, the bank also holds a food drive, which Joan notes is enthusiastically supported by both employees and bank customers. As Christmas approaches, they contact the Salvation Army and the Town of Waterboro to find families in need then “adopt” the families by taking a family’s wish list and soliciting help in getting the items. Tags with each wish are put on a tree in the bank offices for customers and employees to choose.
“People are unbelievably generous, even in this economy,” says Joan. “We’ve had folks take a tag for one item, like a toy truck, and return with a bin full of trucks. We’ve received bikes, jackets, hats, boots, and toys beyond count. It’s really heartwarming.”
A year after starting the Adopt-A-Family effort, Joan and her committee decided to spread the cheer a little more and hold a Christmas party in December at the Southridge Living Center in Biddeford, an assisted living facility. Each of the residents receive a small holiday gift and are treated to a variety of entertainment provided by local middle school and high school students and performing arts groups.
“The residents love the entertainment and look forward to the show each year,” notes Joan, whose mother is now a Southridge resident and a beneficiary of her daughter’s generous efforts.
“We are so pleased to have an opportunity to serve our communities and with my mother now at Southridge, it lends an even deeper meaning for me personally.”
Joan and her 2011 committee -- Nicole Dube, Diane Desrosiers, Shirley Fortier, Judy Huot, Kaytlin Grondin, Rebecca Guerin, Doris LaBrecque, and Lucy Vanase – will begin planning for next year with the simple goal of touching the hearts of a few local families in a very special way.