Security State Bank celebrates Community Impact Month

Security State Bank partnered with Cobb Cook Grocery Tuesday during a Grocery Grab event, after which all food was donated to the Hibbing Salvation Army. Standing with the food donations (left to right) at The Salvation Army is SSB staff Genica Munter, Trent Jivery, Mary Jivery, Jerry Wallis, Gary Oie, EJ Hanson, Audra Levings (Salvation Army) Kim Thomas, Shannon Plombon and Mark Gardeski.

HIBBING — Security State Bank of Hibbing is once again celebrating Community Impact Month by giving back to its friends and neighbors.

On Tuesday, bank employees scrambled down the aisles of Cobb Cook Grocery in Hibbing for an annual contest called the “Grocery Grab” after which any food items “grabbed” within the time limit were donated to the Hibbing Salvation Army. It came together as a partnership between the bank and the grocery store and is one of several events scheduled throughout September to help benefit locals.

Originally organized by the Minnesota Bankers Association, the concept of Community Impact Month was designed to inspire member banks to engage with their local community through service activities. Mark Gardeski, CEO and president of SSB, told the Hibbing Daily Tribune in a phone interview Tuesday that the bank jumped on board with the idea a handful of years ago and it’s been a fulfilling, rewarding endeavor they’ve been grateful to be a part of.

“It’s a terrific thing for the community and for our employees too,” Gardeski said. “It’s about team building exercises, like the highway clean up and Buddy Backpack program. It's been a thing the bank and employees really benefit from.”

In January, the Minnesota Bankers Association recognized 35 state banks for their community involvement and SSB was among those dubbed 2019 Community Champions, thanks to their dedication to volunteer work and other area efforts. Those efforts will continue throughout this month as nearly all 22 employees at the Hibbing bank will likely volunteer in one form or another.

“[The Grocery Grab] went fantastic,” Gardeski said. “We brought the food to the Salvation Army today and it was around $750 dollars worth. We partnered with Cobb Cook and it was nice to work with them on that.”

Up next is a free taco bar lunch featuring Taco Johns, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Thursday at the Security State Bank Parking lot at 710 E Howard Street. Bank staff are also offering popcorn in the lobby each Friday throughout September.

Other upcoming activities planned include participating in Adopt a Highway and the United Way of NE Minnesota’s Buddy Backpack program. Employees will also be hosting their annual Winter Gear Drive and are seeking new or gently used coats, jackets, gloves, hats and boots for both children and adults to donate to United Way. In addition, they are set to serve up free “baked goodies” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at McDonalds in Hibbing.

“Participating in this fits in with the core values here the bank,” Gardeski said, highlighting that the volunteer activities benefit their customers, employees, community and shareholders.

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