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Coronavirus Is No Match for Our Desire to Help Others

Minnesota knows how to help out.

The Star Tribune recently reported that the North Star State is among the most altruistic regions in the country. And Sunrise Banks employees are no exception to the rule.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic upends our sense of normalcy, the banks’ workers and customers have answered the call to service, helping out those who need it most during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sunrise allocates 40 hours of Volunteer Time Off annually to each full-time employee and part-time workers are given 20 hours a year to volunteer however they choose.

Brie Oliverius, the bank’s culture coordinator, has been making face masks for healthcare workers. The project started after she saw a social media post from Allina Health asking for help.

She’s made almost 30 masks so far and plans to send them to nursing homes she feels could benefit most from the donation. Oliverius has also made some for family and friends.

“I believe right now the whole world is hurting; everything has just stopped, like something from the movies,” she said. “I feel that the little bit we can do to help each other is important.”

(Face masks made by Brie Oliverius)

In Sioux Falls, Executive Assistant Jacki Florey volunteered at The Banquet, an organization that provides meals to those in need. She helped prep food on a recent Tuesday.

The Banquet serves 13 meals per week at two different locations, according to its website.

“Even though this pandemic has hit the United States and Sioux Falls, the conditions of these people’s lives have not changed,” said Florey. “They still are in need of food and a place to communicate with others. The communication has changed (due to COVID), but the need for food has increased.”

Before the coronavirus outbreak, Florey also rocked babies once a week at the intensive care unit at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

Sunrise customers are doing their part, too. Heimie’s Haberdashery in St. Paul has started making masks and other protective gear for healthcare workers.

“I love seeing how other people are stepping up in their own way,” said Oliverius. “Whether that’s putting hearts in your window, making masks or posting videos and sharing your skills worldwide.”

Helping others is a personal responsibility, said Florey.

“I am blessed with a lot of great things and amazing people in my life and I think it is my duty and calling as a Christian and a human being to give back, especially to those who are less fortunate,” she said.

The need for housing, food and other basic amenities among underserved populations has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak. You can still donate to local organizations like the Sheridan Story and Aeon online.

Find out about volunteer opportunities in the Twin Cities here.

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