SocksPLUS: First Federal Lakewood and Community West Foundation Team to Help Those in Need

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Marie Marrali, First Federal Lakewood Westlake Branch Sales Manager and Jeff Bechtel, First Federal Lakewood Chief Lending Officer.

Marie Marrali, First Federal Lakewood Westlake Branch Sales Manager and
Jeff Bechtel, First Federal Lakewood Chief Lending Officer.

As a community bank, First Federal Lakewood is always looking for ways to make a difference in the lives of those they serve.

So, when First Federal Lakewood learned about the Community West Foundation SocksPLUS initiative, it was a natural for the two organizations to team up and help the area’s homeless.

Now, all 18 First Federal Lakewood branches are hosting SocksPLUS displays where customers can pick up an envelope and make a donation.

Even a small donation of $10 can make a huge difference. It is enough to furnish 10 pair of socks to someone in need.

“Our partnership with Community West Foundation with SocksPLUS is a real life example of how focused we are on making our community better,” said Jeff Bechtel, First Federal Lakewood Chief Lending Officer. “As a community bank, that is our cornerstone. I feel we have a higher purpose relative to the communities we are involved in. SocksPLUS gives us a great platform to do that.”

“We are extremely grateful to First Federal of Lakewood for offering their support to the SocksPlus Program,” said David T. Dombrowiak, President and CEO, Community West Foundation. “As part of their Project Hope, employees continue their tradition of neighbors helping neighbors. Our greatest resource is the relationships and communities we form in our neighborhoods. It’s just great to have neighbors like First Federal of Lakewood.”

Westlake Branch Sales Manager Marie Marrali agrees. “I have been with First Federal Lakewood for 27 years. Every time you touch somebody in the community, it reinforces that my decision to work with a community bank was the right choice.”

The Community West Foundation-First Federal Lakewood connection came about this fall, just after Community West Foundation moved to Westlake from Rocky River to its new home.

“So, we decided to get together and introduce the leadership,” said Bechtel. “Our President, Tom Fraser, felt there is a perfect alignment between SocksPLUS and the mission of First Federal Lakewood to support the communities we serve. As a community bank, we are able to move quickly and so we were able to make this happen in time for winter.

“It is an example of two organizations with similar ideals coming together.”

SocksPLUS is one of several ways First Federal Lakewood supports community. First Federal Lakewood wrapped up a North Coast Health toiletry drive just before Christmas and also sponsors internal Project Hope community fundraisers all year long with dress-down days, raffles and other employee promotions that benefit charities.

The SocksPLUS initiative, however, is one that everyone can support. All you have to do is stop in the First Federal Lakewood branch nearest you and pick up an envelope near the SocksPLUS display.

“$10 can buy 10 pair of socks for someone in need,” said Bechtel. “When you step outside on a January day, it makes you think.”

“We are happy to have another partner participate in the SocksPlus Program, an initiative of Community West Foundation and the Northeast Ohio for the Homeless,” said William R. Oatey, Chair of the Board, Community West Foundation. “First Federal of Lakewood’s support will help the least of our brothers and sisters in need.”

CWF-SocksPLUS Donation Sites

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