It was fun and games at the official weigh in for the Three Banks, One Community challenge that raised 2,085 pounds of food in just a few weeks.
This month, the three banks in Fairbury, American National Bank, First National Bank and Union Bank, competed to raise the most amount of food for the Blue Valley Community Action Food Pantry. The results came in on Friday as Ryan Bailey, of Blue Valley Community Action, weighed the food that was collected at each of the banks. The branch managers of the two banks that collected the least amount of food received a pie in the face.
Tiffany Pfaff, of First National Bank, was thrilled with the support from the community and is grateful to all who participated in the challenge, noting that the true winner in this challenge is the food pantry and those who are served.
“This was a fun way to get the community involved in collecting food,” said Pfaff. “We all were winners, and when you come down to it, the biggest winner was Blue Valley. Two of the banks were within a few pounds of each other, so it was neck and neck.”
Including the monetary donations, the banks raised a grand total of 2,849 pounds of food: American National raised 251 pounds, Union Bank Raised 1,052 pounds and First National raised a total of 1,546 pounds. However, all three of the branch managers took pies in the face as a sign of good sportsmanship.
Here are two videos from the branch managers taking pies to the face:
Pfaff believes that the greatest part of the weigh in was seeing the community take an active role in loading and unloading the ton of food.
“What I think was amazing was to see the community support with everyone joining in to carry the food to the vehicles so we could transport it to Blue Valley,” Pfaff said. “That was really cool! Everyone came out and enjoyed themselves. Overall, it was a huge success! We definitely want to thank Fairbury for all that they have done, and for the help of the local media for spreading the word about this.”
Danni Starck, of Union Bank and Trust, explained that this was a great event that showed how much pride people take in their banks.
“The fact that you see a lot of bad things going on in the world, and then you see a community come together and is so supportive is just wonderful,” said Starck. “There were many customers and community members who got behind this challenge to support this great cause, which is great!”
Pfaff emphasized that just because this amount was raised, the community should continue to support the food pantry because the holiday season is just getting started and there is a great need for food in the community.
Bailey is grateful for all of the support from the three banks. She believes that without the support from the community, Blue Valley Community Action could not continue to help people as much as they currently do.
“It was a fantastic event,” Bailey said. “They organized this in a short amount of time, and the results were great. This was a whole community effort, and that doesn’t always happen. Bringing in well over a ton of food is just amazing.”
Bailey explained that there is a great need in the community for food, especially among families with young children and among the elderly. She stated that often times, people are only a paycheck away from falling into hard times, which forces them to make hard choices, like whether to buy groceries or to pay the rent. Because of this, she urges people to be understanding of those affected by poverty, because it can happen to anyone at any time.
“What a choice to have to make between buying food and paying for a place to live,” said Bailey. “People are working hard, just trying to get by and trying to do the right thing, but they still don’t have enough money to feed their family. It’s a serious issue, and it’s happening right here.”
She explained that at times there is a stigma associated with poverty, which she hopes to dispel because it can hold people back at times.
“Some of the people who we serve get a bad rap because some people assume that everyone who comes here just doesn’t want to work, or isn’t motivated to make their lives better,” Bailey said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the people we serve are working; most of the people we serve are out there trying and doing the best they can with what they have, and they just can’t seem to make ends meet.”
Bailey reiterated how grateful she is to the community and to the banks for their support, which helps Blue Valley to provide people a hand up in times of need.
“Without this kind of generosity from the community coming together, we wouldn’t be here,” Bailey said. “Danni Starck got this rolling, and she and Tiffany and Gary Muell from American National just ran with it. You can tell they were excited about it. They put a lot of effort and heart and soul into it. They really came through, big time.”