You might want to pay attention if you see a group of people wearing red Secret Santa sweatshirts out and about while you’re holiday shopping. Teams of Illinois National Bank employees want to spread the message about shopping local during the holiday season, according to Lisa Ellis, Marketing Director at Illinois National Bank.
“INB is a locally-owned company, and so are many of our business customers. We already support the Shop Local First holiday sweepstakes, sponsored by the Capital Area Independent Business Alliance, and were looking for a way that our employees could get involved,” said Ellis. “Debbie Shelton, our retail senior vice president, and I started reminiscing about the extra cash we loaded into our ATMS a few years ago for Random Acts of Kindness Week, and a couple of hours later our Secret Santa campaign was in place.”
Debbie Shelton said “we asked for fifty volunteers, and got those slots filled in a matter of hours. We established ten teams, with each team receiving a sum of money to distribute to local individuals. She stressed that this campaign does not replace INB’s holiday philanthropy. “We already support our local non-profits, and have Toys for Tots collection boxes in all of our branches during the holidays. We ring bells for the Salvation Army and conduct other activities through the year. The purpose of this project is to connect with local businesses and residents and remind them to shop – and bank - local.”
INB’s first Secret Santa team was deployed last Saturday. Team members went to Memorial Medical Center’s Festival of Trees and paid for children’s admission until funds ran out. Nine more teams will be deployed in Springfield, Peoria, Chatham, Riverton and Fairmount. INB branches will also host holiday open houses at each location, with special visits from Santa. Those dates and times are posted on the bank’s website and Facebook page, as are photos from the Secret Santa missions.