POLAND, Ohio (WKBN)- Tuesday is a day centered around giving back and connecting with the communities and clients that Key Bank employees serve.

Key Bank employees are participating in the 31st annual Neighbors Make A Difference Day. Service projects will be taking place here locally and across the country with nearly 600 projects across the nation planned.

WKBN spoke with Senior Vice President Karen White about why this day means so much.

KeyBank’s Neighbors Make The Difference day dates back to 1991, when a group of employees in Alaska volunteered for service projects. By 1993, KeyBank extended the concept to many of the communities it served, making it an official day of employee volunteerism. The tradition allows employees to come together as one to dedicate their time and talent, brighten lives and help transform the community in a meaningful way.

“Neighbors day is a way where our employees can really get out and touch the community and do something for the community, the community where they live and work,” White said.

Not only will the day help out local nonprofits, but it allows employees to strengthen their relationships and build on teamwork skills.

According to Senior Vice President Karen White, there are over 5,000 volunteers this year which is almost back to their 2019 numbers. Neighbors Make a Difference day was cancelled in 2019 due to COVID and there were smaller numbers last year. Employees will be volunteering on a wide range of projects..

From sorting food at food banks, to landscaping and yard cleanup for senior citizens, to removing grafitti in urban communities and teaching financial education classes.

“On average we have around 48% of our workforce, we strive for 50% but a lot of folks need to stay back and run the bank,” White said.

Karen said they close down two-thirds of their branches so those branch employees can get right into the community where they know people on a first name basis.

Here locally, Key Bank employees will be volunteering at the Youngstown Food Center and Salem Parks and Recreation. All to fulfill Key Bank’s culture of giving back.