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Bank Independent School Share drive includes COVID-19 tweaks for 2020

Bank Independent will kick off its seventh annual School Share drive July 13 for local school children. From July 13-31, the bank will offer two “less-hands-on” ways to lend a helping hand this year, given the continuing pandemic conditions.

School Share can accept monetary donations through PayPal and through supplies purchased for donation at Office Depot throughout the month of July. All items will be distributed to local children in need through partner organizations across north Alabama.

“The COVID-19 crisis has altered the way we currently approach our daily lives,” explained Penny Camp, chief people officer at Bank Independent. “We’ve had to rethink everything from grocery shopping to social gatherings to even the way we bank. Now that the new school year is drawing near, we needed to rethink how we support our community through the bank’s Helping Hands initiatives – and particularly how School Share can set our local children up for success.”

Camp said School Share has created a financial impact of almost $179,000 in the community over the past six years, that total being derived from the donations of supplies as well as the many hours volunteered by bank team members to assist partner organizations.

Current restrictions have spurred community supporters to be more creative in their efforts, with fewer hands-on opportunities. Health and safety practices make it more challenging to provide volunteers in person.

“In order to continue to make a positive difference through the Helping Hands share drives, new avenues of giving need to be opened through contactless donation options,” Camp said. “Creating a donation option at bibank.com/help opens a direct donation point through PayPal. Office Depot has generously agreed to collect donations in store at their Decatur, Florence and Huntsville locations to limit the number of touch points between donation and distribution.”

For the second year in a row, Bank Independent has also pledged to match 50 percent of customers’ Smart Swipe savings up to a total of $10,000 between July 17-23. Smart Swipe is a BI savings plan that rounds up change from BI debit card purchases to the next dollar and deposits the difference into another BI account of the customer’s choosing.

“Our customers are invested in serving the community and particularly rally around causes that affect children. Removing obstacles to education by providing basic school supplies makes a big impact,” said Rick Wardlaw, CEO of Bank Independent. “The added Smart Swipe match allows our customers to invest in themselves, while encouraging them to make a positive difference toward School Share.”

Although the current health climate presents limitations, Bank Independent representatives said their goals is to continue the momentum of previous drives. Donations will go to purchase supplies that will be distributed through local organizations in each market, including Committee on Church Cooperation in Decatur; Sidney’s Safe! Foundation in the Shoals; the Department of Human Resources in Franklin, Lawrence and Limestone counties; and Free 2 Teach in Huntsville.

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