First Western Volunteers
MINOT – One hundred cheers for one hundred good deeds. That’s the goal of First Western Bank & Trust every Christmas.
Vince Azzarello, marketing and public relations specialist for First Western, said the idea of 100 Cheers started in 2014 to celebrate the bank’s 50th anniversary.
“It was a new idea that we wanted to do 100 random acts of kindness throughout the community,” said Azzarello. “Since then, each year, we’ve kind of modified it a little bit.”
Azzarello said the idea has grown into what it is today, which is to select a new group or angle.
“Last year we helped service workers, people who work at non-profits,” Azzarello explained. “We delivered them lunches, we delivered them food, and we served 100 workers of nonprofits lunch.”
This year FWBT decided to put 100 volunteer hours into one week, December 12-16, at local food pantries, with all the banks combined. For each region, of which there are seven, FWBT’s goal is to deliver 100 food items.
The Lord’s Cupboard and Our Lady of Grace were the Minot bank’s choices, with about two volunteers helping at a time to assist the pantry’s regular helpers.
“We’ll have a total of 12 volunteers,” said Azzarello. “It’s basically considered on the clock for us, because First Western puts a premium on volunteering. We don’t want anything to be a deterrent from getting our employees volunteering, so if it happens to be during the workday, that’s fine. You don’t have to clock out.”
Azzarello said Minot’s bank has around 150 employees, with 360 employees across all the regions.
First Western Bank & Trust started in Minot and expanded across the state and beyond, with a total of 18 branches.
“We’re grateful for all the people, whether it be youth groups that sort groceries, or people that go out to our garden and work in the summertime,” said Gerald Roise, chairman for The Lord’s Cupboard.