Austin Bank provided some Christmas cheer on Wednesday by donating $2,500 to the Cleveland branch of The Salvation Army. The money will be used to provide food and other relief to families in the Cleveland area during the holiday season.
The check presentation coincided with Austin Bank’s open house for the Cleveland branch, which had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Accepting the check on behalf of The Salvation Army was Frieda White, welfare secretary for The Salvation Army for 19 years. White, and her husband, Rev. Bob White, are best known in the Cleveland community for their many years of leadership of Liberty Church and Operation Refuge, and organizing bell-ringing campaigns for The Salvation Army.
In addition to the cash contribution, the bank organized a toy donation for The Salvation Army. White said the money will be put to good use and the toys will be distributed to children in need.
“We’ve had about 40 families per day coming in to ask for help. They need food and toys for their children for Christmas, so thank you,” White said.
Through a remote video stream, Austin Bank Chairman Jeff Austin Jr. added that The Salvation Army is there when no one else shows up.
“We are glad to be part of the Cleveland community and Liberty County. We’ve had some unfortunate circumstances with hurricanes, COVID and you name it, but we are all going to survive. Hopefully in 2022, we won’t have to worry about this virus. Notice that I am skipping 2021,” Austin said with a laugh.
Following his father, Jeff Austin III, who attended the open house, added that the check presentation and construction of the bank are the fulfillment of promises that Austin Bank made many months ago when they picked Cleveland as a location for a branch.
“When we made a promise last year that we were going to build this facility, we followed through on that. We are here. We also made a promise to be a part of the community and you can see by this that we are excited to do just that. This would not be possible without our local team. You all are the ones making it happen right here,” said Austin III, gesturing to the branch staff.
The Cleveland branch is led by Senior Vice President and Retail Market Manager Tasha Childress, Executive Vice President and Regional President Lowell Little, Vice President and Relationship Manager Mike Penry, and Senior Vice President and Market Manager Daniel Wolfson. The lending assistant is Linda Vandver and the universal bankers are Alex Rogers, Yeimi Renteria and Lizbet Portillo.
Austin Bank is located at 807 E. Houston St., Cleveland, and can be reached by calling 281-806-3136. The website is https://www.austinbank.com/locations/cleveland/.