Community Bank

Community Bank N.A. employees, Cassie Kazimer (from left), Jody Spears and Theresa Raftis, are shown with non-perishable food collected over the past few days at the North Union Street branch in Olean to benefit the Olean Food Pantry. Food can be donated at the bank until the end of February.

OLEAN — For the past three years, Community Bank N.A. has collected tons of canned and non-perishable food at branches across New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont to benefit food pantries in honor of National Canned Food Month.

That is also the case at the Olean branch of Community Bank which began collecting canned food at the North Union Street facility Monday with hopes the donations keep coming in until the end of the month.

Officials with the bank report the 125 participating branches aim to collect 5,000 items for local food pantries and food banks. In 2019, branches collected 4,127 nonperishable items for 30 local food pantries, shelves and banks.

“Our local food pantries need our support,” said Eric Garvin, Vice President Regional Retail Banking Manager. “We’re hopeful that the food collected from this drive will help keep their shelves stocked for weeks to come. We encourage all community members to scan your cupboards or grab an extra item from the store and give what you can at any participating Western New York branch.”

At the Olean branch, Jody Spears, branch and district manager, said she and the other employees have enjoyed helping with the food drive the past couple of years.

“The bank as a whole has a goal to collect 5,000 items,” Spears reiterated. “So that’s what we’re heading for — we just started this week.”

She said the Olean branch has done well with its collection in the past, and hopes to do so again.

“We try to get all of the departments involved with this,” Spears said of employee donations. “And we’re handing out (information) to our customers telling them we’re trying to collect food.”

She said the food from the Olean branch will be given to the Olean Food Pantry, with any additional supplies provided to other local food pantries.

“Everything we collect will definitely go locally,” she added. “We’re not going to send it anywhere, it’s definitely going to stay here” in the area.

Bank officials said other participating local branches include Cassadaga, Silver Creek, Allegany, North Collings, Fillmore, Gowanda, Yorkshire, Wellsville Main, Franklinville, Bolivar, Springville South Cascade Drive, Randolph, Jamestown North and Brooklyn Square, Falconer, Dunkirk Central, Lakewood, Alfred, Orchard Park and Westfield.

For more information on the bank or the food drive, visit cbnanews.com.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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