Florence Bank awards local food banks, hospitals, firefighters associations with grants

Hampshire County

Florence bank gave out $100,000 in grants Tuesday evening and their customers got to decide where that money went. 

More than 10,000 customers submitted their votes for the 17th annual Customers Choice Community Grants, awarded in Northampton Tuesday night. The grants gave anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to local non-profits, based on the number of votes each organization received.  

In order to be considered, non-profits needed to receive 50 votes. Fifty-five organizations were chosen, including Daking Humane Society and the Forbes Library. After coming just shy of the 50 vote mark last year, Smith vocational High school PTO received more than $1,000 this year. 

“Customers love it, and it was the idea of John Heaps late wife Jane, because we get asked a lot to give money to the community, and it’s hard to make those decisions, and she said to him, why don’t we ask the customers,” said Monica Curham of Florence Bank.

“I had tears in my eyes, I went immediately to Principal Bianca,” said Tammy Walunas, a grant recipient. “They’re going into the trade. They need tools and licenses and all of that. This is truly going to help the students.”

Food banks, hospitals, firefighters associations and more received grant money this year.

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