By Debbie Shelton
SVP, West Wabash Avenue Branch
When her fellow employee Sheila Brackensick was going through a difficult period of time, Vicki Wall made a pretty bracelet for her as a gift to let Sheila know she cared.
“I was grateful for Vicki’s thoughtfulness during that stressful time in my life,” Sheila recalled.
Then one day, a customer noticed the piece of jewelry on Sheila’s wrist.
“A customer commented on that bracelet and wanted to know where she got it because she ‘just had to have one.’ Sheila directed her over to me, and the customer wanted to know if she could order one from me,” Vicki said. “She wanted to know how much I would charge her, but I told her nothing because her sister used to be my daughter’s daycare teacher and took such good care of her.”
Vicki had the bracelet ready for the customer the next time she stopped by INB, and the customer was eager to pay for her new creation, despite Vicki’s protests. When she insisted, Vicki immediately thought of the Kids Café, a community program that INB partners with during spring break each year.
During the school year, Kids Café provides a warm, nutritious meal to more than 100 children after school; however, the program closes during spring break each year. Seven years ago, INB launched a drive to collect healthy snacks for about 150 Kids Café participants during their week-long break and this partnership has continued every year. INB holds events year-round to benefit Kids Café, such as shred events and trivia nights.
“I explained to her what the Kids Café was about and that if she insisted on paying for it, I would put her money toward a donation to them,” Vicki said. “She just loved the idea of that! So we deposited her payment for the bracelets into the Kids Café account.”
The INB team was thrilled that a little extra money was raised for Kids Café, but it didn’t stop with that single transaction. Pretty soon, the customer was back, interested in more bracelets for holiday gifts.
“She says that everywhere she goes people comment on her bracelet, and she thinks it’s an easy gift idea,” Vicki said. “She placed an order for 11 more bracelets, and after Christmas, added two more. She thinks it’s an amazing cause, too, and laughs that she’ll have more orders in the future.”
Because of Vicki’s thoughtful gift to Sheila that caught the eye of a loyal customer, more than $140 has now been donated to Kids Café, helping to provide food and snacks for low-income students in Springfield.
“I think it’s just fantastic; who would have known that this one bracelet would start all of this?” Sheila said.
Vicki couldn’t be happier at the result of her jewelry-making efforts. “I absolutely love knowing that this will be put toward the purchase of some good food for the tummies of the local children,” she said.