Freedom Bank sponsors clothing drive to benefit locals in need
Employees from the Shell Knob branch of Freedom Bank distributed over 500 clothing items at the community's Shakin' in the Shell event on Sept. 21. Teller Lavetta Phillips and her daughter, Jennifer Walton, administered the project, which offered collection points at local schools and the bank.
"It was a lot of work, and we really enjoyed doing it," said Phillips. "We really did feel like we were making a difference."
Volunteers delivered two pickup-loads and an additional carload to the event on Friday evening. Setup included two canopies, tables and hanging racks. Interested individuals could select the clothing they wanted, by size, at no cost.
"Some people are really in need so we tried really hard to give them as much as they wanted," said Phillips. "People were kind of shy about taking stuff."
Those who planned the event strongly believe in providing this experience at Shell Knob's main community celebration for two reasons. First, a larger number of people will attend. Secondly, there is a real need for kids clothing at the beginning of the school year right before the weather changes.
"Shakin' in the Shell is right before school starts," said Julie Ward, an employee of the bank who also volunteered. "This provided a good opportunity to get clothing."
When the event was completed, organizers were left with four small boxes of clothing that were in turn donated to The Thrifty Closet, a clothing exchange in the community.
Organizers realize that providing clothes for individuals in need is an on-going problem that can't be solved with one event. The success of this experience has generated a desire to begin collecting items for next year's event.
"This is something that we'll continue to do at all of our locations, in all of the different communities that were in," said Rusty Newman, branch president in Shell Knob and Golden.
Freedom Bank is a local institution whose main branch is in Cassville. Additional braches are located in Willard, Seligman, and most recently Shell Knob and Golden. The Shell Knob branch sponsored the event by providing staff to administer, collect, and sort through the items. The bank also paid for booth space and advertising in local newspapers. Community outreach is an important part of the bank's philosophy.
"Freedom started in 1999, and that's been our whole philosophy," said Newman. "We're part of the community and the community is what keeps us in business."