Friday, November 15, 2019

640 Bridge Street
Owatonna, Minnesota


Bank partners with Clothesline to keep community warm this winter

 By ANNIE GRANLUND This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Oct 17, 2019 

OWATONNA — The Polar Vortex of February 2019 is still fresh on the minds of many Midwesterns, especially for those in Steele County who experienced the unbelievable cold temperatures sandwiched between record-breaking snow falls.

Unfortunately, the 2020 Farmer’s Almanac’s extended weather forecast is calling for a “Polar Coaster Winter” season this time around with plenty of frigid and freezing temperatures for a majority of the country, leaving no rest for the winter weary.

With all of this in mind, it was easy for the crew at Community Bank Owatonna to get behind a partnership with the Steele County Clothesline with the mission to keep the entire community warm throughout the winter months. During the entire month of October, the business has been advocating for the non-profits annual Winter Coat Drive.

“I guess you could say I’m pretty passionate about this,” said Jennifer Elseth, the assistant vice president of loan operations for the bank and the project coordinator for the coat drive. “I just think it’s going to be such a worthy cause.”

In preparation of the drive, Elseth said she spoke in depth with the Clothesline’s executive director Maureen Schlobohm about where the organization’s needs are for winter gear. Considering the temperatures, it was unsurprising to learn that the Clothesline has no reserve winter clothes in its inventory heading into the next cold season.

“I was actually more surprised that what they’re in need of is men’s coats and gloves,” Elseth said. “It was really eye-opening; I would not have guessed that.”

According to the Clothesline, men’s coats, gloves, and socks seem to consistently be the items they have the hardest time supplying year after year. As of now, they are the highest items on the organization’s priority list.

“I think a lot of times we just take for granted everything that we have,” Elseth stated as she reflected on the desperate need for men’s winter gear and basic socks. “The help that we can give, even if it’s just a little bit, does go a long ways.”

As the only locally owned bank in Owatonna, Elseth said that community engagement is extremely important to the staff, board of directors, and the shareholders of Community Bank Owatonna. She added that giving back to the community as much as they can is a part of their overall mission and that the coat drive is just one of the opportunities the group viewed as a way to accomplish exactly that.

“A couple of years ago there was a local competition that we had among the other banks where we competed to see who could raise the most food for the Steele County Food Shelf,” Elseth said. “Now we kind of duck-tailed off of that as we had such great support for helping the Food Shelf, we decided to go ahead and see if we can reinvest in our community by helping the Clothesline as well.”

“It’s so rewarding to see when everybody really comes together what they can accomplish,” she continued. “I’m definitely hoping that this donation to the Clothesline will help them going forward.”

Other items that the Clothesline is in immediate need of include winter coats of all sizes, winter boots, and snow pants. Children’s sizes for boots and snow pants are also high on the priority list alongside the need for men’s items. Any gently used winter items are welcome and can be dropped off at Community Bank Owatonna, the Steele County Clothesline, Hy-Vee, Cash Wise Foods, and St. Mary’s School. Donations as a part of the annual Winter Coat Drive will continue through the end of October, but can be made at any time at the Steele County Clothesline



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