Spotlight: For the love of banks

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Last year, senior executives of several banks in the Puget Sound region decided their industry’s image, buffeted mercilessly by consumer blowback during the recession, could use a little burnishing. They hit upon the idea of a food drive in the springtime, far enough removed from the traditional holiday-season food drives to call attention to the fact that hunger isn’t exactly seasonal.

They eventually passed the baton to the Washington Bankers Association (WBA), which partnered with Northwest Harvest and recruited 21 banks to take part in Bankers Care, a collection effort at more than 500 bank branches between Everett and Olympia that took place from March 18 to April 5.

WBA President and CEO James Pishue says if this “beta” effort proves successful, the collection will go statewide, possibly as soon as next year, and involve many more banks. “We are committed to an ongoing program,” Pishue says. “Food banks run low after the holiday season and there’s still large demand, so we felt this would be good timing.”

Seattle-based Northwest Harvest is the only nonprofit food bank distributor operating throughout Washington state. It provides more than 1.7 million meals a month to a network of 350 food banks, meal programs and high-needs schools. Executive Director Shelley Rotondo says she is “thrilled” to be working with Bankers Care. “Like our partner food banks, WBA banks are in dozens of communities around the Puget Sound. This partnership allows bank customers to donate money or nonperishable food, which will have an impact in their own neighborhoods.”

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