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Associates go 'Hands In' to give back, pay forward in November

Rudi Wetzel
November 22, 2016
Associates across the Hancock and Whitney Bank footprint have accepted the call to put their hearts and hands to work this month in support of Hands In. As an extension of Hancock and Whitney Bank’s volunteer program, Community Connection, Hands In aims to encourage volunteerism in a month already focused on gratitude and giving.
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With paid time off for volunteerism, associates choose individual passion projects that reflect their local communities’ unique needs. Through partnerships with countless non-profit agencies, community initiatives and organizations that share our core values, associates are helping build a better Gulf South.
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Feeding the Gulf Coast in Mobile and Baldwin County
Associates in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama joined forces with Feeding the Gulf Coast to help end hunger by collecting non-perishable food items. In one short week, associates collected nearly 400 pounds of food and delivered the items to the Feeding the Gulf Coast facility in Theodore, Alabama.
Associates also volunteered to sort and inspect more than 5,350 pounds of food which will help provide nearly 4,115 meals to those in need during the coming weeks.
Retirement Plan Administrator Amanda Hightower said her reason for supporting Feeding the Gulf Coast is a simple one: food is powerful. “It was a wonderful experience to help an organization that touches so many lives. Feeding the Gulf Coast brings food to so many children in need, not just during the holidays, but year round,” said Hightower. “Feeding the Gulf Coast provides weekend and summer programs to make sure children in our area do not go hungry. “
Feeding the Gulf Coast distributes over 20 million pounds of food annually to 24 counties in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.
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A Banker in Every Classroom - Hattiesburg
Mississippi associates chose to focus on the essential need for young people to learn good money management skills by teaching financial education this month. In partnership with the Mississippi Bankers Association, associates volunteered their time to support A Banker in Every Classroom. In the last five years, A Banker in Every Classroom has conducted more than 1,500 classes reaching 55,000 students statewide.
Customer Service Manager Treaka Rankin volunteered at Woodley Elementary School in Hattiesburg, bringing her financial smarts to second through fifth grade students. “Choosing this activity was easy. I love kids and believe that it is important for them to learn important financial lessons like how to save allowances early in life,” said Rankin. “Community Connection is a great program for associates to get out into the community and show that our company has heart and a mission to serve those around us.”
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St. Petersburg Free Clinic
Tampa Bay associates went hands in to support St. Petersburg Free Clinic, a multi-service agency providing assistance with food, shelter, and health care.
To help the clinic prepare for the upcoming holiday season, associates helped put together meal packages and distributed them to families who visited the clinic’s food pantry, which serves nearly 60,000 residents every month.
Senior Business Banker Kai Sonnenschein described the experience as very satisfying. “It helps to highlight the struggle of others in our community and makes me appreciate the generosity of local businesses like Hancock Bank that support St. Pete’s Free Clinic.” Sonnenschein continued, “It is important for us to be helpful to those not as fortunate as we are. No matter what our circumstances, we all have the ability to help others less fortunate.”
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American Heart Association - New Orleans Heart Walk
Associates across Louisiana teamed up to support the American Heart Association through various activities. In New Orleans, associates raised over $15,000 for the Annual Heart Walk, the AHA’s premiere fundraising event to save lives from heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recognized Corporate Banking Team Lead and Heart Walk Team Captain Hollie Ericksen as the New Orleans Heart Walk Top Fundraiser for raising more than $12,000. In addition to raising funds, more than 25 associates worked to raise awareness about the country’s number one killer, heart disease, while  promoting physical activity and healthy living during the two mile Heart Walk around Champion Square.
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American Heart Association - Lafayette Eating Healthy Day 
Associates in Lafayette and Baton Rouge have entered a friendly competition to support American Heart Association’s Eating Healthy Day. Branches are competing to gather the most nutritious, non-perishable food items during November for local food banks. The effort is two-fold, ensuring those in need have the opportunity for a meal during the coming winter months, and replenishing the stock at local food banks  hit hard by flooding earlier this year.
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Financial Cents in Houston
Houston associates dedicated their volunteer time to focus on financial education. Through the company’s Financial Cents program powered by EverFi, volunteers used interactive modules in conjunction with in person sessions to talk to students about the importance of saving and managing money well.
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Hurricane Restoration
Tallahassee associates teamed-up with St. Marks Wildlife Refuge to restore the grounds surrounding the St. Marks Lighthouse impacted by Hurricane Hermine earlier this summer. Associates spent the day repainting historical markers, cleaning up up palm trees and debris around lighthouse and observation tower, sweeping the interior of the keeper’s house, removing trash along the coastline impacted by the recent floods, and reinvigorating the wildflower gardens near the lighthouse grounds.