Reading Time: 3 minutes – Posted: September 2020
The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the communities in which we live and work. As the needs of many have increased, so too have the hurdles for providing support to nonprofit and community organizations in a safe, socially distanced way.
At WSFS, we believe it is integral to do more than just serve our Customers inside the walls of our banking locations and that we have a duty to give back to our Communities.
Our Associates regularly give their time and talents to local nonprofits and organizations and are ingrained in the fabric of the Community.
We figured out quickly at the onset of the pandemic that because our Associates have such caring hearts it would be difficult for them when we had to suspend our volunteer programs in order to protect both Associates and those served. We quickly brainstormed with the team and came up with a variety of initiatives that could be done while masked, gloved and social distanced – and even made some masks of our own and distributed hundreds of them to those experiencing homelessness.
We’ve supported food pantries by having Associates make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at home while wearing proper protective equipment, learning the key to keeping the sandwiches fresh along the way.
And the meals didn’t stop there.
With the elderly being among the most vulnerable populations during the pandemic, Associates who volunteered weekly to deliver meals through Meals on Wheels were compelled to continue, utilizing appropriate protective procedures.
As many summer camps were cancelled, our Associates who typically provide in-classroom financial literacy classes adjusted their lessons to conduct them on video calls for local schools and community centers.
And as those schools readied for the start of the school year, a whole new host of challenges were presented with the need for virtual and hybrid learning models.
WSFS typically conducts back-to-school drives to provide students with needed school supplies. This year, we reached out to our community partners for feedback as to student needs and found that while supplies were still needed, the most critical items needed were laptops and devices to access virtual classrooms.
Schools worked hard to provide one device per home, however, many families have multiple children and need more than one device. Working with our community partner, United Way of Delaware, WSFS Bank and the WSFS Community Foundation adjusted their usual donations for back-to-school to pledge $35,500 to provide hundreds of devices to area students for online learning.
In these difficult times, we’ve also been reminded that even something as simple as an encouraging or uplifting message can help others and our Associates and their families. With that in mind, WSFS Associates along with some of their children created “caring notes” to accompany meals sent to homebound seniors, disabled children and families in need.
While the pandemic has certainly caused us to reimagine the ways in which we give back to the Community, I encourage anyone who wishes to give back to look around or reach out to a nonprofit near to your heart, as there are always ways you can help.
About the Author – Vernita Dorsey
Vernita Dorsey is Senior Vice President, Director of Community Strategy at WSFS Bank. She has more than 35 years of experience as a community banker and has actively served her community throughout her career.