LEICESTER, Mass. — Leicester Country Bank presented Project New Hope Inc. with a donation of over $3,000 on Wednesday, enough to cover the full cost of the organization's Women Combat Veterans Retreat at the Barton Center in Oxford this October.
The funds were raised through the Employee Charitable Giving Program conducted in June, with bank employees nominating a cause and then donating $5 for every Dress Down Friday.
"It's 100 percent employee driven," said Lisa DiMarzio, Country Bank's compliance officer and chair of the Employee Charitable Giving Committee. "I think the employees were excited to have a say in what we are doing and who we are helping."
"Everybody's enthusiasm kind of stirs everybody else up," said Eileen Chevrette, mail room coordinator at Country Bank.
After the employees rallied together to raise $1,890, Country Bank then matched their effort, bringing the total award to $3,780.
"I think it's fantastic that all these Country Bank employees from this part of Massachusetts helped raise money for our non-profit," said Project New Hope president Bill Moore. "That's money that we don't have to go out and fundraise for, and that's huge for us because while we're out there hosting these retreats we also trying to raise money and awareness.
Moore said that the funds raised will allow the non-profit to host a full weekend retreat for women Combat veterans.
The retreat provides a safe and therapeutic environment intended to nurture the mind, body, and spirit, and is designed to allow military and veteran women to return to their communities and their home and work environments revitalized, empowered, and strengthened.
Country Bank's Alyson Weeks, Operations Project Coordinator, nominated Project New Hope for the award.
"It's so important and is the first of its kind in this area," said Weeks. "Bill is just so proactive, and he's the kind of guy that when I ask him for paperwork he was there with it that day, and I knew the funds were going to go to the absolute best use."
Next year, Project New Hope will begin hosting retreats at new locations on Cape Cod and the Berkshires, as well as in Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut
"What we're doing here is really taking off, and is being embraced by all these states," said Moore. "We've had veterans sign up from New Mexico and Texas, and we won't turn any veteran away. It's not a hand out, it's a hand up, and who deserves it more than a veteran coming back?"
The Oct 5-7 Women Combat Veterans retreat, including room and board, is available at no cost to qualified female veterans or active duty women in the military. Those intrerested in participating can register atwww.Projectnewhopema.org