The Citizens Bank Employees’ Blue Jeans Fund has donated $500 to support the Helping Hands Food Pantry, an outreach program of the Cushman United Methodist Church.
A group of bank employees recently visited the pantry, which has been operating since February in the old Middle School building in Cushman in space provided by the City of Cushman. At least four volunteers staff the food pantry each Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The pantry has served between 60-80 area families each month for the last seven years.
“Some families may be in need for only a month or so due to unforeseen circumstances, while others may be in need for an extended period of time due to job situations or illness,” said Emily Clark, co-director of the Helping Hands Food Pantry. “A lot of times, senior citizens are faced with the decision of purchasing either food or medicine. A food pantry can help ease the stress of these difficult situations.”
The Citizens Bank Blue Jeans Fund has provided more than $25,000 in financial assistance to help with local needs over the past five years. Citizens Bank employees make $1 weekly donations in return for being allowed to wear blue jeans to work on Fridays. Whenever the fund builds $500 in donations, an employee committee selects an organization to receive a donation.
The Helping Hands Food Pantry partners with the Arkansas Food Bank to obtain some of its food items, but also relies on public donations to help purchase food to distribute to area families. It will accept perishable and nonperishable food items, including surplus garden vegetables, and also welcomes volunteers to help unload food trucks. Cash donations can be sent to the Helping Hands Food Pantry, P.O. Box 363, Cushman, AR, 72526.
“We appreciate that Citizens Bank cares about the less fortunate in our community,” Clark said.
“This money allows us to continue our mission of serving God by serving others. An elderly lady told me one time that we just had no idea how much receiving the food helped her.”
“Helping our friends and neighbors is the primary reason Citizens Bank started the Blue Jeans program,” said Joyce Prickett, who administers the Blue Jeans Fund for the bank. “Our employees are very involved in so many charitable causes and worthwhile groups that make our communities better places to live.”
PROVIDING HELPING HANDS – Inspecting potatoes are (front row, from left) volunteer Kathryn Clouse, and Citizens Bank employees Ashley Engles, Rhonda Woods, Angie Hooker and Joyce Prickett; (back row) Pantry Co-Director Emily Clark, Pastor James Wheeler, Lane Clay of Citizens Bank, and volunteers Jean Weatherford, Judy Messenger, and Cheryl Duncan.
PHOTO 2 – Emily Clark (center), Co-Director of the Helping Hands Food Pantry, talks about how the pantry is grateful for the food donations it ultimately distributes to residents in Cushman and the surrounding area.