By Thomas J. Shara, President and CEO of Lakeland Bank
This time of year we are busy getting ready for the holidays, preparing special dinner menus, making plans with friends and family, and decorating our homes.
And, if your children have already made their lists, you have probably started shopping!
The holiday season is a wonderful time for many families, so it may be hard to believe that there are parents in North Jersey who don’t know if they will be able to fill their children’s stockings. And there are children wondering if there will be any gifts to open this year.
That’s why, starting November 29th, all Lakeland Bank branches will continue the company’s annual Share-A-Gift tradition of partnering with local charities to collect gifts for members of the community who need extra support and cheer this time of year. The Share-A-Gift program has become a tradition for our colleagues and customers of all ages. It’s heartwarming to see how we all join together to make a difference for others coping with difficult situations.
Put the act of giving to those in need at the top of your holiday plans this year. The joy you will receive from helping someone in need is something that will stay with you throughout the year. And, get your children involved too! Emphasizing how important it is to give to those less fortunate will teach them to appreciate and value the life you provide for them.
Stop by any Lakeland Bank branch and look for the Share-A-Gift trees our colleagues have decorated with special ornaments that provide details about a gift recipient. Each branch selects a special charity that is important to their local community. The recipient may be a young child, teenager, single parent, or an elderly citizen.
Customers who would like to participate can take an ornament and return to the branch with the gift described on the ornament tag. Each Lakeland Bank office will collect the donations and then distribute all presents through the local charity organization.
A unique giving experience, which kicked off during the fall of 2012, will take place again this year on December 3, 2013. It is called #GivingTuesday
and it is catching on across the country. This movement aims to set aside a day dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping. Celebrate this year’s #GivingTuesday
by dropping off a gift at any Lakeland Bank branch.
Last year, we collected more than 1,400 gifts for charities such as Urban Renewal Homeless Shelter, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Pass It Along, Knights of Columbus, St. Peter’s Orphanage, United Way, Salvation Army, DYFS, Angel’s Attic, Junior Women’s Club, Sussex Help Center, The Boys and Girls Club of Paterson & Passaic and Toys for Tots.
We wish you the happiest of holidays and thank you for your generosity.