The Choice Bank Wishing Well was created to empower people in our communities to tell us what they need to better the places we live. This past holiday season, the Wishing Well encouraged our locations to get together and think creatively about where there are needs in their community and where we can make an impact.
Ellendale, ND – Ellendale Public School Backpack Program
Every child deserves healthy food to be able to grow and learn. However, for families that are food insecure (the consistent lack of food to have a healthy life because of economic situation) putting food on the table poses a significant challenge.
Our Ellendale location granted a wish to the Ellendale Public School Backpack Program, which helps to feed the children at school and over weekends and holiday breaks. There is a need for funds to keep these programs running and we recognized that bettering the places we live begins with making sure everyone can eat.
Fargo, ND – Bruins Backpack Program
More than 9 million children faced hunger in 2021. That’s 1 in 8 kids at risk for hunger. The Bruin Pantry Backpack Program directly addresses food insecurity by ensuring Fargo South High School students get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food they need to eat on the weekends. Every Friday, backpacks are packed by student Bruin Pantry volunteers for students and are placed in a location where students can anonymously pick up their bag at the end of the day.
The Fargo Choice team delivered a $1,000 donation to the Bruin Pantry Backpack Program to make sure no student goes hungry over the weekend. The Wishing Well funds will also be used to buy other toiletry needs, bedding, blankets, towels, and laundry detergent for students to bring home.
“The mission of our program is to provide our students with the basic needs that they need to be able to come to school and be ready to learn and build positive connections and have a space where they feel comfortable asking for help when they need it,” Kim Grugel, Fargo South teacher, said.
Golden Valley, MN – The Link
The Link is a nonprofit in Minneapolis that offers transitional housing for youth struggling with poverty and homelessness. They provide valuable crisis intervention services, emergency shelter, housing, and programming for youth who are experiencing homelessness, have been victims of sex trafficking, are involved in the juvenile justice system, or in foster care.
Our Golden Valley location utilized Wishing Well funds to provide beds for young people who recently secured housing.
“By helping young people transition out of homelessness into stable housing has a wider impact on the community, because then they’re able to focus more on their education and their employment and the goals they have for themselves versus just being in constant survival mode,” Beth Holger, Executive Director of The Link, said. “They’re able to actually accomplish their goals and give back to society.”
Beth shared that over 50% of homeless adults first experienced homelessness as a child. The Link’s mission to transition young people out of homelessness and empower them toward their goals will eliminate the cycle of homelessness.
Grafton, ND – Walsh County Social Services and Anne Carlson Center
The holiday season can be a difficult time for families, so our Grafton location partnered with local organizations to bring joy to those who may be struggling. Our Grafton team use funds from the Wishing Well program to donate $800.00 worth of gift cards from various business in Grafton to Walsh County Social Services to be used as Christmas gifts for teens in the area.
The Grafton team also purchased $1,200 worth of Christmas gifts, cleaning supplies, and food for two families in Grafton through the Anne Carlsen Center. Amanda Littlejohn, Associate BSA Fraud Officer, went with the case worker and delivered the presents to these deserving families.
“Services like these provide that gap between just making it and providing that little extra for their family, especially for kids to be able to be like everybody else for one day,” Amanda said of the rewarding experience.
Grand Forks, ND – United Way of Grand Forks
Every child deserves an opportunity for education without the challenge of finding clothes, school supplies, or other items they need to succeed. This is the mission of the United Way of Grand Forks’ Kidz Closet program, which provides essential everyday items to children in need.
Choice donated $2,000 to this program of the United Way so every student has the opportunity to focus first on their education.
Moorhead, MN – Early Einstein’s Learning Center
Not much is better than a refreshing nap, especially so for growing children. Our Moorhead team used funds from the Wishing Well to provide new sleeping cots for Early Einstein’s Learning Center, a child care facility in Dilworth, Minnesota.
“This is something that will impact these kids for years,” Brooke Kopperud, Choice Bank Business Loan Servicing Specialist, said. “The kids take their naps on these cots every single day, so this had a tremendous impact.”
Child care is incredibly important in every community, and we want to do our part to not only support these facilities, but to also support children’s development.
“Napping is an important routine in child care and most children will take regular daily naps. Setting up comfortable spaces for napping will help children relax and get the rest they need. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise – it promotes growth and development, helps the heart, and boosts learning,” Early Einsteins owners Kelly Hanson and Heather Jung said.
Steele, ND – Kidder County Public School Hot Lunch Program
A sentiment shared across the entire Choice footprint is that no student goes hungry. Our Steele team dedicated their wish to ensuring students have access to food.
Steele is located in Kidder County, which is the 6th most poverty-stricken county in North Dakota. Kidder County has a poverty rate of 14.5%, making it incredibly difficult for some families to be able to pay for school lunch.
Steele used funds from the Wishing Well to pay off a significant portion of Kidder County Public School’s delinquent lunch accounts.
“Due to pride and embarrassment many people don’t apply for free or reduced meals,” Lisa Zimmerman, Business Loan Servicing Specialist at our Steele location, said. “This wish helps those students and helps with the financial burden for these parents.”
The Choice Bank Wishing Well is accepting wishes! Ready to cast yours? Visit choicewishingwell.com and let us know who you would like to help out in your community.Make A Wish