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Bank's 'Warm Hearts' aids local homeless

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | February 10, 2023 1:00 AM

Local Columbia Bank branches raised almost $16,000 during the company's annual Warm Hearts Winter Drive campaign in December.

Overall, the drive, which helps those struggling with homelessness in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, raised $277,817 in the eighth annual campaign. Branches in Sandpoint and Ponderay raised a total of $15,879 for Bonner Homeless Transitions in this year's effort.

"We are so grateful for the community partnership and how they continue to support us with their generosity and caring spirit," Robin Rawlings, Ponderay branch manager, said. "Our teams thank you for your support and commitment to our community."

Customers, employees, business partners and community members throughout the region also donated thousands of items of warm winter wear and supplies to benefit more than 69 homeless and relief shelters. Local sponsor Samuels Store generously donated $10,000 to the fundraiser, Rawlings said.

Since the Warm Hearts program began in 2015, Columbia has raised more than $2 million in combined donations among the bank's branches. Employees at all of Columbia Bank's 145 branches across Washington, Oregon, northern California and Idaho helped secure donations.

All of the clothing and funds collected are donated directly to shelters and relief organizations in the communities where the collections originated, Columbia Bank officials said.

The drive began as a way for the bank's employees to give back to their communities and to help those who need it most during the winter months.

"Homelessness is top of mind for all of us in the Columbia Bank family. We are encouraged by the tremendous support of our Warm Hearts program each year," Clint Stein, Columbia Bank president and chief executive officer, said. "With tens of thousands of individuals struggling with homelessness in California, Idaho, Washington and Oregon alone, programs like Warm Hearts are increasingly vital to support our communities, and we thank all who participated for their generosity."