BankRI’s ‘Holiday Giving Tree’ program to start earlier due to pandemic


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The holidays will look different this year due to the pandemic, but an annual program hopes to brighten the season for as many local children as possible.

Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) plans to begin its annual “Holiday Giving Tree” program early this year, saying that helping families is more important than ever.

“With nearly every aspect of our lives impacted by the pandemic, we were committed to making sure we could safely continue our holiday program and lift the spirits of kids at a time they may need it most,” BankRI President and CEO Mark Meiklejohn said. “We realize families have been hit hard and providing gifts this year may be a challenge, so we want everyone to know our staff is ready to make participating as safe and easy as possible.”

The program, now in its 23rd year, collects gifts for underprivileged kids which are distributed statewide by the bank’s 16 nonprofit partners.

Last year, the campaign collected nearly 1,500 gifts for children statewide.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 2, each of BankRI’s 20 branches will display a “Holiday Giving Tree” in its lobby, decorated with ornaments featuring the name, age, and holiday wish of a child served by that branch’s nonprofit partner.

BankRI says it made adjustments to this year’s program since branches are operating with health and safety guidelines in place to help keep customers and staff safe.

  • Customers and members of the community are invited to call or visit a branch to select an ornament and provide a gift.
  • Donors may return to their branch to deliver the unwrapped present, or can call to schedule a curbside drop-off where bank staff will pick up the present.
  • BankRI says those who wish to enter a branch to place their gift beneath the tree themselves must wear a face covering.
  • A bank employee will confirm identification and ask basic questions about COVID-19 and travel.
  • Social distancing is required, and BankRI asks anyone not feeling well is asked to stay home.

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