From left to right: Bonnie Koehn, VP - Client Development, ChoiceOne Bank; Carrie Olson, VP - Client Development, ChoiceOne Bank; Cheryl Gregware, Customer Service Center Assistant Manager, ChoiceOne Bank; Patricia Brown, VP – Commercial Loan Officer, ChoiceOne Bank; Konrad Raclawski, Branch Manager Officer, ChoiceOne Bank; Adom Greenland, SVP – Chief Operating Officer, ChoiceOne Bank; Mary Rangel, SAMRC Chairperson; Jamie Jasso, SAMRC Secretary; Linda Aguilar, SAMRC Member.
ChoiceOne Bank committed to donate $2,000 to Sparta Area Migrant Resource Council to help the children of the migrant and farm working families in the area with their school needs. ChoiceOne Bank is specifically donating funds to help purchase tennis shoes for the upcoming school year.
“ChoiceOne Bank is located in the heart of one of the most diverse and abundant agricultural regions in our country,” said President and CEO Kelly Potes. “Because we have become the local choice for agricultural lending, we partner with many agricultural businesses in West Michigan, from local farms to international distributors. This gives us the opportunity to also partner with agencies like the Sparta Area Migrant Resource Council to help the families of local farm employees.”
Every July, the Sparta Area Migrant Resource Council has an event for the migrant and farm working families of the area. This event supplies school-aged children with items to fulfill their basic needs to begin the school year. Everything is free to the children, and everyone who works at the event is a volunteer.
“On the last Sunday in July, we celebrate the working families that come into the area to work with our farmers,” said Mary Rangel who organizes the event and works within the Women, Infants, Children (W.I.C.) Division of the District Health Department in Grant. “These families work very hard to keep our local farmers in business. Some of these families offer generations of dedication to the same farmer year after year.”
During the event, each child is provided a new back pack filled with school supplies, a new pair of tennis shoes, and a culturally friendly bag of groceries. The day includes cultural dances and music, along with a lunch of culturally friendly foods. Funding for most of this event is from the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
Historically, between 800 to 1,500 individuals attend the event each year. Approximately 300 to 350 school-aged children will receive back packs and shoes every year. With ChoiceOne’s donation, the Sparta Area Migrant Resource Council will be able to provide every school-aged child that attends the event a new pair of tennis shoes to start the 2019 School year.
“As the local community bank, our focus is always to help make our communities a better place to live for all of us,” said President and CEO Kelly Potes. “Over the years we have added many services to help our migrant and farm working families including Spanish speaking employees in our branches and in our Customer Service Center. We appreciate what these families bring to our communities and are honored to help provide school shoes to these children.”