Sharing Time and Talents During National Volunteer Week 2024

Step Up Savannah Volunteerism

Cadence teammates spent approximately 200 hours supporting 60 nonprofits and schools during the week-long celebration of volunteerism.

National Volunteer Week was April 21 - 27, 2024, and celebrated the impact people can make when they share their time and talents in tackling some of society’s biggest challenges.

During this week, Cadence teammates spent approximately 200 hours in volunteer service with 60 nonprofits and schools throughout our bank’s nine-state footprint. Some worked together as teams, others independently.

In recognition of this special week, we’re shining a spotlight on a few Cadence Bank teammates who traded their blazers for aprons and t-shirts in support of area nonprofits. Follow along with Lacy, David, Danielle, Nay, Kristy and Mario as they tell us about their recent experiences volunteering.

Lacy Edwards

Trust Estates Officer, Fort Smith Arkansas

Community Services Clearinghouse

Community Services Clearinghouse Logo

What is the mission of the Community Services Clearinghouse?

“The primary mission is to help alleviate hunger in seven Arkansas counties that surround Fort Smith. For school-age children, it runs a weekend food backpack program, which is currently serving 2,400 children during the school year.”

What is your involvement?

“I go every Friday and pack 480 paper bags with nine items for the children to eat over the weekend. For some, this is the only nutritious food they will have on Saturdays and Sundays. The paper bags are placed in backpacks that are ultimately distributed to schools throughout the seven-county area.”

Why did you decide to get involved with this program?

“I’m very inspired by the Clearinghouse’s mantra that no child will go hungry. It’s been very hard the past 18 months or so because the current inflation rate has doubled the cost of each paper bag of simple food. All of the children are nominated by teachers or counselors and their backpack is supported by a financial donation from the community. I also like that the agency is about helping people help themselves. Those receiving support have incomes and many have jobs, but are just having a hard time making ends meet.”

Community Services Clearinghouse Volunteerism

Pictured left to right: Community Services Clearinghouse Executive Director Tami Kuhns and Cadence Bank’s Lacy Edwards finish assembling one pallet of 2,400 weekend food backpacks before they are delivered to area school children.

David Johnson

Market President, Grayson County Market

Grand Central Station, Sherman, TX

Grand Central Station Logo

What inspired you to get a group of teammates together to volunteer?

“I’m inspired by the great work this organization does. A former executive director was a member of our bank's Community Advisory Council, and it received a grant from the Cadence Foundation to replace a freezer. When I took a tour, I was impressed by how well the organization meets the needs of the Sherman community. It goes above and beyond providing meals. It handles food bank distributions, provides training and computer time – even laundry and self-care (showers) are on site! Without exception, the teammates who have donated their time to Grand Central Station have found it to be a most gratifying experience.”

What is the purpose of Grand Central Station?

“It provides food, tools for learning, advocacy and life solutions for neighbors in need in a safe environment. Volunteers serve two hot meals a day and sack lunches on Saturday.”

Danielle Shapiro

Relationship Manager Assistant

Van Alstyne Branch

What have you learned through volunteering?

“Well, I learned that volunteering at a soup kitchen is definitely hard work! You become a sous chef – prepping food and handling anything needed in the kitchen to get ready for the next meal. The amount of food and donations needed to run an operation like this is very overwhelming to think about.”

Kristy Blackwell

Relationship Manager Assistant

Van Alstyne Branch

What advice do you have for someone wanting to start volunteering?

“Just do it! Look for things that interest you and start asking how you can help. Most organizations will love to get any help they can get.”

Leslie (Nay) Sperry

Loan Administrative Assistant

Van Alstyne Branch

What inspired you to get involved?

“Volunteering is something I have always thought about doing but wasn't sure where to start. Working at Grand Central Station has been very rewarding, and I am grateful to be surrounded by co-workers who care about people and love helping others as much as I do.”

Mario Hilliard

Market President, Savannah

Step Up Savannah

Step Up Savannah Logo 

Why is Step Up Savannah a good fit for teaching financial literacy?

“Step Up Savannah is a nonprofit that works with unemployed and under-employed individuals to gain meaningful employment. It has extensive outreach programs that include workforce development, community service and health and financial wellness.”

What is your history with Step Up Savannah?

“I’ve been volunteering with Step Up’s Chatham Apprentice Program (CAP) since June of 2023. CAP is a cornerstone workforce development program that’s free to all participants. It includes hard and soft skills training coupled with various wrap-around services like financial literacy, nutrition education, employment coaching and placement.”

Does volunteering/community service make you a better employee?

“Absolutely. I believe volunteering provides a unique opportunity for personal growth and development. Whether it’s through board service or helping out at a local food bank, I see firsthand the importance of teamwork, communication and effective leadership when I work with others toward a common goal.”

Do you have any advice for people who want to start volunteering?

“Just know it’s okay to start small. Consider volunteering for a one-off event and gradually increase your commitment as you become more comfortable and/or have more time.”

Step Up Savannah Volunteer Work

Mario Hilliard enjoys regularly teaching financial literacy in Step Up Savannah’s Chatham Apprentice Program because he can see firsthand the impact his efforts are making among eager job seekers.

Visit for more information about our community commitment.

This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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