Employees of First National Banking Company (FNBC) chose to give of themselves by foregoing their annual Christmas party and use the funds to help buy food and gifts for those who are less fortunate in Sharp County.
With the funds, the employees were able to make Christmas a little merrier for 75 Sharp County families. They served both elderly and less fortunate families as well as foster homes.
Employees gift wrapped food boxes for senior citizens who were part of the Targeted Case Management for the Elderly program through the Arkansas Department of Health. These are elderly persons who live outside nursing homes yet require in-home care to remain living independently.
Venora Lowder, an LPN who is also the Community Based Case Management coordinator for the county, said she is extremely thankful for the food baskets her clients received. Part of her job involves locating resources to assist the elderly, and in many cases the money for food during the holidays is difficult.
Lowder said she is so proud to live in Sharp County because the residents always answer the call of need. She said the employees of FNBC went above and beyond the call of duty in providing all of her clients with the food baskets. After they were assembled by the employees, the personal care aides distributed them to the elderly.
Lowder said one of her patients is in her 90's and has no family and when she brought the basket to her she was overwhelmed and amazingly thankful. She said the patient said very emotionally, "I don't have anyone, thank you."
Lowder said they were so amazing, the boxes looked like beautiful gifts complete with bows handmade by Kathy Hicks at the Hardy branch. She said without these employees and their giving hearts, this would not have been possible.
She said in addition to the wonderful support offered by the bank, the Elks and during Thanksgiving the Highland Key Club furnished boxes for the elderly. Lowder said she cannot stress enough how much she appreciates the entire community for their overwhelming generosity throughout the year.
FNBC also provided gifts to children in foster care in Sharp County. Clark Sanders, Marketing Project Coordinator for FNBC, said there are between 75-80 foster children in Sharp County and only about four foster homes. He said a lot of the children are being sent to other county homes outside Sharp County and some stay home. He said many of the children who go home for Christmas go home to no electricity, heat, groceries and little or no gifts. Because Sharp County did not make the funding list to help provide for these needy children, Sanders said employees of the Sharp County Department of Human Services pulled their own personal funds and local donations to help provide for these needy children, who very much deserve a happy Christmas morning.
He said in December, employees also contributed money on "Jean Day" to be able to wear jeans on Fridays during the month. He said, this coupled with funds from the employees opting not to have their Christmas party allowed the employees to also provide a gift for all the foster children.
FNBC offices in Fulton, Izard, Baxter and Independence counties provided food and gifts for local charities as well.