Bank Executives Lend a Helping Hand

Bob Cleveland, Branch Manager of Columbia Bank in West Deptford, took time out of his busy schedule this month to volunteer at the South Jersey Dream Center Food Pantry at the National Park Fire Hall in National Park.

As past president of the Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, Bob Cleveland is no stranger to the local area, and a strong supporter of businesses taking every opportunity to give back to the surrounding community.  He presently sits on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Gloucester County, a highly impactful organization that helps solve issues regarding education and financial stability, and improve the lives of people in our neighboring towns.

Bob's first contact with the South Jersey Dream Center is when the Dream Center Director, Natalie Fortunato, invited he and his staff to join them in July, in support of a fellow bank employee, John Gallo, a mortgage representative from the Voorhees Branch, who was presenting a workshop on "First Time Home Buyers".  He promptly rallied  Darrin Gould, Business Banker in the Voorhees office and Kim Noland, Manager of the Deptford Branch to join him for this inaugural visit and lend a helping hand.  Together, joining forces with over 30 other volunteers needed to run the food pantry, they tirelessly served unloading boxes, sorting cans, and assisting over 150 guests in one afternoon with their selections of food. As an added bonus, each guest received a sturdy recyclable tote bag with the Columbia Bank insignia as a gift from the local branch.

Prior to this visit, Angela Keegan, a regular customer at the West Deptford Branch and Planning Committee Member of the Annual Dodge Hunger DodgeBall Tournament, had also reached out to Bob to get the bank involved in the South Jersey Dream Center’s Fourth Annual Dodge Hunger DodgerBall Tournament which will take place on November 7, 2015.

When asked why he got involved, Bob stated, “This is a local thing for us. It’s right down the street from my office, and it’s supporting the people in this area, and that’s what’s important to me.”

The Columbia Bank Foundation is actively involved with a host of organizations throughout New Jersey such as the Food Bank of South Jersey and Habitat For Humanity, through issuing grants and hands on volunteering. Most recently, a grant was given to “One Little Step,” which was able to purchase special equipment to help the disabled become more efficient with motor skills.

Soon after their visit to the Food Pantry, Natalie received a call from Bob saying that the bank would like to spend $500 on food at BJ's to once again help support local families.  Within two weeks, a delivery of high quality non-perishable food items was made to the Dream Center offices.

Hats off to you Bob Cleveland and your associates.  Thank you for sharing your time and energy with all of us at the South Jersey Dream Center Food Pantry.  Your support has already made quite an impact in the lives of so many people, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Columbia Bank in the future.  Thank you for helping us make a difference in Southern New Jersey, one household at a time.