The holidays are a time for giving and employees of the Machias Savings Bank Branch in Presque Isle have made giving back to their community a priority this year.

Machias Savings Bank

All year long, employees have dressed in jeans on Friday to collect money for the branch Casual for a Cause Fund.  The Casual for a Cause Funds can be used for a variety of endeavors, from helping a school group to providing assistance to a family that has fallen on hard times.

As the calendar approached December, employees in the branch came up with a plan to use these funds in impactful ways to benefit the greater Presque Isle community.  Each team member was encouraged to choose an organization they wanted to support through a donation of either money or materials.  Then, they were encouraged to make a personal donation of approximately $100.

Assistant Branch Manager, Renee Saucier, and Mortgage Specialist, Cindy Thibeau, hadn't quite decided what they wanted to do with their funds, when an opportunity presented itself.

"We had just finished having dinner with all the employees from the Presque Isle and Caribou Machias Savings Bank Branches when we struck up a conversation with our waitress," explained Saucier.  "She told us about her son, and how much strength and courage he has shown battling brain cancer.  When we mentioned Make-A-Wish, the waitress teared up and told us how Make-A-Wish had entered her family's life at a time when they needed it most, providing her son and family with the best days of their lives.  Right then and there, we knew we'd use our $200 to make a donation to Make-A-Wish in her child's name!"

Machias Savings Bank

Other employees sought to assist our furry friends in need.

"Someday, I will probably be identified as a crazy dog lady because I love animals," admitted Autumn Hamann, a Financial Services Specialist.  "I already donate to an animal rescue, but I was happy to provide support to the Central Aroostook Humane Society on behalf of Machias Savings Bank.  It feels good to help an organization that does so much in our community."

Other organizations helped by Machias Savings Bank employees through this challenge include the Mars Hill Community Cupboard, United Way of Aroostook's Santa's Sleigh program, Friends Helping Friends food pantry in Fort Fairfield, the Trinity Lodge's Bikes for Books Program and the Presque Isle High School Girls' Soccer Team travel expenses.  In all, $1000 was provided to help brighten the holidays for others throughout central Aroostook.

"It's been very rewarding for all of our team members to have an opportunity to make a difference to a cause that is near and dear to their hearts," said Branch Manager, Tim Goff.  "As a bank, Machias Savings provides more than $600,000 annually to support non-profits, schools, economic development efforts and more with an eye toward improving financial literacy and promoting community wellness, which is awesome!  But sometimes, small gestures like this can mean much more because of the personal nature of feeling connected to someone or something.  I have a strong feeling that our employees will look for different ways to help our community even more moving forward and not just through financial support.  This really brought our team together and provided tremendous perspective at a time of year where the hustle and bustle of the holidays can overwhelm the true spirit of Christmas."

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