Groups helping feed the hungry gain support of Citizens Bank employees


The Citizens Bank Employees’ Blue Jeans Fund has donated nearly $1,100 to four local groups that work to ensure that children and families don’t go hungry, the bank said in a release.

The most recently funded organizations include the Cedar Ridge Food Pantry, First United Methodist Church Food Pantry, and the “Blessings in a Backpack” program at both Sulphur Rock Elementary School and White River Academy.

A contribution of nearly $400 was made to the Cedar Ridge Food Pantry, a non-profit organization that provides food to residents of the Cedar Ridge School District, with eligibility based on income. Every month, 80 or more families receive food from the pantry.

Citizens Bank employees donated nearly $400 to help First United Methodist Church in Batesville fund its food pantry. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a “blessing box” at the church needs to be restocked several times each day. The pantry also provides between 60 and 100 hot breakfast meals each Saturday morning for members of the community.

A $500 “Blue Jeans” check was designated for “Blessings in a Backpack,” through which food is provided on Fridays to school children, whose families rely on the program for meals, especially during the weekends. About 75 children needed the assistance at the two school campuses last year – prior to the onset of the coronavirus.

“Citizens Bank employees are so pleased to support these critical groups in our communities who are helping children and families who really benefit from these important programs,” said Phil Baldwin, chief executive officer of Citizens.

In the past five years, the Citizens Bank Blue Jeans Fund has provided $32,000 in financial assistance to worthwhile causes and charitable groups, the bank said.

The money raised by the fund begins with simple $1 weekly donations that allow bank employees to wear blue jeans to work on Fridays. Whenever the “denim donations” add up to $500, a committee of bank employees meets to select organizations to receive donations.

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