Bank employees give back to their communities

On Monday, Isabella Bank employees walked away from their desks and out of their offices,  ready to work in a different capacity for their local communities.

It’s a long-standing tradition called Compassion Into Action Day.

Isabella Bank branches closed on Oct. 11 as employees turned into volunteers and participated in dozens of needed projects across seven counties. It was a chance for employees to give back to their communities with manual labor, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to not hold the event in 2020.

“It was a very busy day; we did a ton,” says Amber Zaske, community relations specialist for Isabella Bank. “These projects gave us opportunities to serve our communities in unique ways that will leave a lasting impact.”

“These projects gave us opportunities to serve our communities in unique ways that will leave a lasting impact.”Helen Roth, connect and serve coordinator at West Midland Family Center (WMFC), says she can’t believe how much was accomplished in one day. According to Roth, about 50 volunteers turned out for the event, including those from Isabella Bank, United Way and The Great Lakes Loons.

Volunteers worked on projects at WMFC such as spreading mulch on the playground, enclosing rafters in pavilions, clean up trails and an obstacle course, and worked on the baseball field.  

“It was an amazing day,” says Roth. “It was back-breaking work, and I can’t thank them enough. A lot of stuff was put off because staff doesn't have the time. There were many things we needed to accomplish that were on our wish list. I still can’t get over [how much was accomplished].”

Zaske says she hopes the community will be “open for more opportunities for years to come.”

About 50 volunteers turned out for the event, including those from Isabella Bank, United Way and The Great Lakes Loons.The “day off” is a chance for employees to get away from work, make connections with people, and “do something different and outdoors” — all while helping their community, says Zaske.

Compassion for Action events were held in Midland, Isabella, Saginaw, Clare, Mecosta, Gratiot and Montcalm counties.

Projects completed in other counties included packing meals in Clare and Greenville, working at Rock the Block in Gratiot County, doing multiple projects at Mt. Pleasant's Habitat for Humanity ReStore, volunteering at the Underground Railroad in Saginaw, and working on bleachers and the community park in Wheatland Township.
Amber Zaske is the Community Relations Specialist for Isabella Bank.
Zaske says employees were excited about helping others. She says employees enjoyed the opportunity to work with fellow co-workers outside of the office, and that it was “a great Fall day to get out of the office and make a difference in our community.”

Roth agrees that events like this help spread the word on how WMFC is available to help families and people in the Midland community.

According to the WMFC website, it is an organization that empowers families to grow together, striving to create thriving families by improving self-worth, helping others and creating a fit and healthy community.

Zaske says she learned  “so many different things about WMFC. I didn’t know half of the services they offer, and I drive by this location two times a day.”

Read more articles by Erika M. Hirschman.

A veteran freelance writer and former reporter with The Midland Daily News, Erika Hirschman has covered a wide array of topics in Midland County including education, human interest, local government and crime. Erika holds a journalism degree from Marygrove College/University of Detroit-Mercy.

 

Erika is an award-winning reporter, and has written for various newspapers and magazines in the state. When she’s not writing, Erika loves to read and travel, dance in her kitchen with her family and two dogs, and advocates for cancer treatment and research. She’s lived in Saginaw County for 25 years.