2010-05-27 / Business

Seneca Square bank branch makes ‘Key’ difference at Family Promise of WNY

by KIMBERLY MCDOWELL Editor

Dawn Ranic, a teller at Key Bank’s Seneca Square branch in West Seneca, prepares a wall for painting at Family Promise of WNY. The volunteer service was in conjunction with Key Bank’s 20th annual “Neighbors Make the Difference Day” on Tuesday, during which more than 230 employees in the Western New York region left their bank offices at noon to take part in various community service projects. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Dawn Ranic, a teller at Key Bank’s Seneca Square branch in West Seneca, prepares a wall for painting at Family Promise of WNY. The volunteer service was in conjunction with Key Bank’s 20th annual “Neighbors Make the Difference Day” on Tuesday, during which more than 230 employees in the Western New York region left their bank offices at noon to take part in various community service projects. Photo by Scott Schild Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Employees from Key Bank’s Seneca Square branch stepped just across the border of West Seneca into South Buffalo on Tuesday to take part in a good cause to make a difference.

May 25 marked Key Bank’s 20th annual “Neighbors Make the Difference Day,” during which more than 230 employees in the Western New York region left their bank offices at noon, changed out of their business gear into jeans and T-shirts, and participated in a myriad of community projects.

Both Key Bank branches in town, located at 4050 Seneca St. and Seneca Square at 320 Orchard Park Road participated in the bank’s signature event.

West Seneca-based projects included cleaning and bagging clothes at City Mission, 2303 Union Road in West Seneca, as well as cleaning at the Southtowns YMCA, 1620 Southwestern Blvd. These projects were completed by Key Bank volunteers from the branches within West Seneca as well as nearby communities.

However, the newly opened Seneca Square branch was assigned to Family Promise of WNY for its first year of participation. Located near Cazenovia Park on the border of South Buffalo and West Seneca, Family Promise is an effective, cost-efficient community response to homelessness.

“We bring together existing community resources, especially faith congregations to assist us with our mission,” said Mary Lou Dietrich, who is on the board of directors.

When a family loses its home, they are in crisis, and Family Promise responds to the call to keep homeless families together as a unit. This is done through such services as host sites and a day center, which is where Key Bank volunteers performed their community service.

“I asked the West Seneca Rotary Club if anybody had any ideas [for a project],” said Amy Bauer, manager of the Seneca Square branch and leader of the project team at Family Promise. “I like to reach out to my peers to see if they know of anyone in need of volunteer work.”

The Rotary led her in the direction of the West Seneca Food Pantry and ultimately to Dietrich, who was pleased with the news of the project, said Bauer.

Eight employees — five from the Seneca Square branch — involved in the Family Promise project lent a hand with various in-house tasks at the Day Center, such as washing windows, painting walls and cleaning floors. Family Promise provided all supplies needed for the project.

But getting “down and dirty” is something all of the Key Bank volunteers enjoy.

“The girls were wonderful,” said Dietrich. “I was totally impressed with their enthusiasm and really felt from their attitude that they are going to continue to help us in the future.”

“We try to have as much fun as we can, because we know we’re doing a good thing,” added Bauer.

thing,” added Bauer. “This project is a great one. We all look forward to Neighbors Day.”

Bauer, who has previously participated in the annual event during her 15-year career with Key Bank, said past in-town projects included planting flowers and laying mulch at Town Hall, beautifying Cazenovia Park, and also cleaning up a portion of Seneca Street.

“Anything we can do to give back to the community is what we’re focused on,” she said. “We are definitely a community bank, community focused, and we understand that personal business and community prosperity go hand in hand. We’re committed to ... ongoing projects like Neighbors Make The Difference Day.”

According to Bauer, more than 25 percent of this year’s projects are green, meaning they involve planting, landscaping, building gardens and cleaning up the environment.

The campaign is a nationwide effort, as more than 8,000 employees from Maine to Alaska also will be making a difference in their respective communities. That adds up to more than 32,000 employee volunteer hours across the United States, according to Therese Myers, vice president and director of public affairs for Key Bank.

e-mail: kmcdowell@beenews.com

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