In early April, First Federal was challenged by another financial institution to help stimulate our local economies. Each FF employee was given $25 by the bank and challenged to spend with a local small business or non-profit, or pay it forward to an essential worker. We were so inspired by our generous and creative employees!
Many employees supported local restaurants by ordering take-out for their families or with coworkers. In Marianna, employees pooled their money together and bought lunch three days in a row from different local eateries.
Others have bought food or coffee for healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential service workers. Elizabeth in Lake City had a friend match the $25 and they ordered pizza for the Lake City Fire Department. Sheldon in Live Oak picked up gift cards at a local coffee shop and dropped them off at a local doctor's office. In Jasper, Alden showed her appreciation for the local veterinarian by giving their office with restaurant gift cards.
In Nassau County, several employees combined their funds and purchased gift cards from local restaurants and gifted them to their postal worker, courier, and a local non-profit food pantry kitchen.
A few people created goodie baskets for teachers and essential workers. Ocala employees put together goodie baskets and delivered to several essential businesses.
Some employees chose to support their local retail shops, like Judy in Ocala who bought a few gifts from her favorite boutique. Misty in Port Royal went to her local nursery and bought plants to decorate the branch. Amy in Panama City bought a bunch of small bottles of natural hand sanitizer from a local lavender farm and gifted them to their neighbors.
Several employees across our branches chose to donate their funds to local non-profits who are still serving our communities. Some gave to Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, or donated their funds to the local food pantries, or gave money to local animal shelters.
By far the most creative story so far goes to Sarah from Lake City! Sarah went to a local paper goods store, bought a bunch of toilet paper (they still had some!), and then “TP’d” her neighborhood by leaving a roll of toilet paper at each neighbor’s house with a friendly note.
One act of kindness that really warmed our heart is when a local dentist stopped by to gift our branch employees with treats from a local cafe. We were touched by the gesture, but even more so that they supported a local small business.
Even as our state begins to slowly open back up, our employees will still be out there (safely) supporting our local businesses because we know how much they mean to our community. We are #LocalStrong.