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Giving Back This Holiday Season

Southern FIrst Bankers volunteering with Loaves and Fishes in Charlotte.

Though many of us are fortunate to refer to the holidays as the “most wonderful time of the year,” we must also remember that this can be a difficult time for some people. In between work, visiting with family, and all the festive activities, it is important to take time to give back. We wanted to share how our team has been impacting lives over the last few weeks in hopes it may inspire you to do the same. Read on to learn more about opportunities to serve during this season.

Spreading Joy to Local Children

Southern First Banker, Quincy Rice, volunteering with Going Places.

Our Greenville team adopted 25 angels in The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program this year. This program aims for every child to experience the excitement of receiving gifts on Christmas, despite their circumstances. Social service agencies and schools refer families to The Salvation Army for help with Christmas.  Names of each child and their wish lists are obtained. Then, those angels are adopted by donors like our associates who purchase their gifts. In mid-December, the families pick up the packages to put under the tree for Christmas morning.

In Charleston, Client Experience Banker Quincy Rice had the privilege of volunteering with Going Places. She helped surprise Lambs Elementary School with 390 brand-new bikes, helmets, locks, and training wheels. Quincy said, “We arrived at 8 am to unload two huge semi-trucks jam packed with all of the gifts, arranged them all under giant tarps, and at 9:30 am we got to see the children's excitement when we did the big reveal! I had the best time volunteering and cannot wait to experience this again!”

Providing Meals & Essential Items to Those in Need
In Raleigh, Team Leaders Jaime Kulow and Laura Keefer helped The Salvation Army put together over 75 Thanksgiving baskets to be given to people in need in the Triangle area. These baskets are distributed to help nourish hungry families with the groceries needed for a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. The Charlotte team also helped put together food baskets with Loaves & Fishes.

Bankers Laura Keefer and Jaime Kulow volunteering with The Salvation Army.

Our Credit & Appraisal department organized a food drive for Upstate Backpack Blessings, who send food home with students in need each weekend, a critical time when they do not have access to school meals and often go without or have very little food.

Southern First Banker, William Johnston, and his daughter participating in Meals on Wheels of Greenville's Mealed It! decorating competition.

Greenville Team Leader and Vice President, William Johnston, and his daughter put their cake decorating skills to the test and competed in Meals on Wheels of Greenville’s Mealed It! This festive competition aired live on Facebook, raising funds to support those who are homebound in the Upstate community with meal deliveries.

Bankers Brandy Zietner and Jasmina Herring at the Dorchester County Senior Center.

Client Experience Bankers Brandy Zietner and Jasmina Herring from our Summerville office volunteered at the Dorchester County Senior Center through Trident United Way, delivering meals to seniors in the community. Brandy shared, “It was not only an eye-opening experience, but such an amazing opportunity and we both look forward to serving our community again.”

Banker Deavanie Smith with A GIving Heart Project.

Charlotte Client Experience Banker Deavanie Smith had the opportunity to be a part of A Giving Heart Project’s homeless efforts. Deavanie helped with clothing donations, serving food to those in need, and giving out necessities like soap, toothpaste, and undergarments. She is looking forward to getting more involved with the organization by becoming a mentor to at-risk youth.

Ensuring Students Have a Bright Future

Southern First Bankers volunteering with Junior Achievement at Greer Middle School.

Six of our Greenville associates - Team Leader Anna Mills, Mortgage Processor Kristen Miller, Client Experience Officer Jeremy Heaton, Team Leader Mark Miller, Client Experience Banker Nicholas Earehart, and CRA Analyst Rebecca Caldwell – recently volunteered with Junior Achievement at Greer Middle School. They spoke to seventh grade students about brands, logos, career clusters, and career maps. “It was a treat to help mentor young minds about the importance of branding, establishing career goals early on, and that some of the greatest success stories have all started with failure,” said Nicholas.

Our Charlotte office partnered with Promising Pages for a Holiday Book Drive, giving the gift of reading to local students with limited access to books at home. Promising Pages aims to cultivate a lifelong love of reading in children and helps to ensure students stay in school, as studies show that children who can’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

We are so proud of our team. They are true servant leaders who give from their hearts. No matter how you serve, we hope you take time this winter to spread some joy to those who need it most. From the Southern First family to yours, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season! 


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