At the BB&T branch in Hellertown the staff don’t just lend money; they also sometimes don work clothes, roll up their sleeves and lend a helping hand to people in the community they call home.
The helping hand is part of the bank’s Lighthouse Project, in which employees from each of the company’s 1,800 branches volunteer in order to help a local organization.
BB&T Hellertown branch manager/vice president Kim Rosario said she and her staff were able to identify the Saucon Valley Community Center as a potential Lighthouse Project recipient.
The Saucon Valley Community Center is located on Northampton Street in Hellertown borough and provides affordable child care to local families, hosts activities for teens, hosts a senior center, and more.
“We donated time and money,” Rosario explained, adding that the donation the Hellertown branch was able to make was pooled with that of a nearby branch in Bethlehem Township, in order to make the funding go further.
Storage bins from The Home Depot were purchased with some of the branch’s allotment of Lighthouse Project funds and then assembled at the community center, where they replaced some aged wooden boxes that were being used to store children’s toys.
Outside the building, BB&T employees went to work refurbishing some playground equipment that had become dilapidated over the years and through exposure to the elements.
Rosario noted that there was duct tape covering metal bars that had become rough because of peeling paint.
After removing the tape, the five bank volunteers sanded the bars until they were smooth and then repainted them with spray-paint.
“It was a real team effort,” Rosario said, adding that community center director Erin Siegfried “was so happy” with the improvements that were accomplished in just a short period of time.
Miller Heights (Bethlehem Township) BB&T branch manager Brenda King was part of the team effort and noted that the bank was also able to purchase four new tricycles for children at Saucon Valley Community Center to enjoy.
Whereas before the community center only had one trike that kids would line up to be able to ride, now they have a veritable fleet.
“We do a lot of things just so we can be out there in the community,” King said, adding that there is still more work to do at the community center. She said she is hopeful that BB&T might be able to help them again next year.
Past local organizational recipients of the Lighthouse Project include the Children’s Home of Easton and Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem.
Since BB&T’s Lighthouse Project began in 2009, bank associates have contributed more than 500,000 volunteer hours and improved the quality of life for more than 15 million people, according to the company.
Rosario noted that BB&T in Hellertown contributes to helping the community in other ways, such as by being a silver sponsor of the 2018 Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market.
The money for that sponsorship and for a bench that will be placed in Hellertown’s Dimmick Park is from the Keystone Savings Foundation, a charitable trust begun by BB&T banking predecessor Keystone Savings Bank and now administered by BB&T.