First Federal Savings and Loan isn’t your average bank. They actively work to support their communities across Western Washington, building relationships with customers, local businesses, non-profits, and more.

They’ve been headquartered on the Peninsula since 1923 and have locations in Bellingham, Seattle, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, and Forks. Each branch is dedicated to supporting the people of the place in which they’re based. During COVID-19, that means providing monetary donations to local food banks.

First Federal saw a need for more support of our local food banks, and stepped up to do just that. Photo courtesy: First Federal

“Our focus is on our neighbors and businesses in Western Washington, and our commitment to local communities goes far beyond offering the financial products, services and expertise,” says First Federal’s Community Engagement Manager Jen Swanson. “That includes volunteerism and other ways of giving back to the communities in which we live and work.”

This is all true during “normal times,” but with the onset of COVID-19 and the resulting drastic social, emotional, and economic impacts for Washington state, First Federal has developed new program to support their communities during this challenging time.

First Federal looked critically at what their communities needed and saw that food banks required more support. “There’s a very high demand for food banks, but there’s not a lot going to them,” Swanson says. “Grants aren’t flowing in the way they normally do this time of year. So we internally came up with a program where we could accept monetary donations from customers and community members and give them to the food bank. In addition to accepting monetary donations from the community, First Federal just donated $50,000 to all food banks in their markets—$5,000 from each branch to the food bank in their community.

First Federal also accepts donations—at their drive-throughs or via mailthat will be passed on to the food banks. Photo credit: Steven Arbuckle

There are multiple ways people interested in supporting this program can get involved. “Right now, our branches are operating on a drive-through basis,” Swanson says. “You can make a donation there, and we’re also accepting checks in the mail, and then passing them along to the food bank. If you’re a customer you can always call and do an online phone transfer.”

One of Swanson’s favorite aspects of her job is being part of First Federal’s commitment to community involvement. “I love being a part of the give-back process, being able to be a part of something greater, and being able to help the community,” she says. “Not a lot of people, when I say I work for a bank, think that I’m out taking photos of giving nonprofits five thousand dollar checks!”

Throughout COVID-19, individuals, nonprofits, food banks, families, and more have all stepped up to take responsibility for their communities. With their $50,000 gift to local food banks, and more on the way, First Federal is showing what it means to be a good neighbor—and a good bank—during this uncertain time.

Learn more about how First Federal is supporting local communities here.

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