As a community bank, we have been invested in our local community from the first day we opened our doors in 1999. Our employees live here, work here and volunteer for causes that are important to them. As the current health pandemic has impacted our local communities, we’re proud that our staff is stepping in to make a positive difference in many ways.
When Hope McKenzie isn’t working as part of an essential role at the bank, she’s sheltered at home making masks to help protect others from the risk of COVID-19.
“My mom taught me to sew when I was in high school, and she had a lot of patience with me, so I feel this is a gift from God, and I want to help as many people as I can stay safe out there,” says Hope, who is an insurance specialist for INB.
As of the end of April, Hope has made more than 400 masks. She has supplied masks to coworkers, friends, local companies and restaurants, and anyone who reaches out to ask for them – even masks in kids’ sizes.
She doesn’t charge for the masks but is grateful that many people have given her a donation to help cover the cost of supplies. Friends have also donated fabric to her; otherwise she uses leftover fabric she had stored away. When elastic became hard to find, she switched to ribbon, donated by a fellow INB staff member Laurie O’Brien.
“I love to sew, and this is one way I can give back to the community,” Hope says.
Scouting Out Opportunities to Give
The Ronald McDonald House in Springfield typically relies on guest chefs preparing and serving dinner every night. But when the pandemic shut down those in-person efforts, the House put out a request for catered meals.
Evan Westlake’s family coordinated two meals for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House with his son’s Cub Scout and daughter’s Girl Scout troops. The Sherman-area Scouts partnered with restaurants run by families in their school district, Bella Trattoria and Cooper’s Alleyside, to cater dinner for the House.
“Both Scouting troops jumped at the opportunity to be able to support the Ronald McDonald House and give our business to local restaurants at the same time,” says Evan, SVP, Commercial Lending.
Paying It Forward Across the Community
When Corey Kates saw posts on social media promoting a “Pay It Forward” program started by Papo’s Café, he wanted to support the effort. The program was passing out free meals at St. Patrick’s School to assist Springfield community members who had been financially impacted by the healthcare crisis.
“Once I saw that, I immediately wanted to help pay it forward as well, so I contacted (Papo’s owners) Will Hoecker and Dr. Nicole Florence and thanked them for everything they have done for our community, and asked how I could help give back as well,” says Corey, VP, Mortgage Lending.
Corey and his wife decided to make a generous donation to the cause, and INB joined in by matching their personal donation. Corey has also continued volunteering to hand out meals at St. Pat’s and St. Cabrini on Sundays and Wednesdays. He even brings along his son, hoping to instill the value of generosity.
“I think it’s important to show him at a young age that he too can make a difference, and hopefully the memories of giving back to the community stick with him for a long time,” he says.
Easter Sunday was certainly a highlight for Corey during this difficult season.
“We as a group were able to help serve 1,600 dinners to families on Easter with an incredible crew of people working together with one common goal: to help feed as many people as possible,” he says. “My hope during all this is that even though we’re all divided and isolated, we can still come together by helping our family, friends, and neighbors who need it most.”