Submitted by Fifth Third Bancorp
Fifth Third Bank Kentucky hosted a Summer Kick-off Block Party in partnership with Park DuValle Community Health Center and the American Heart Association on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to noon in Russell, one of the communities supported through its $180 million Empowering Black Futures Neighborhood Program.
“This was a great opportunity for the Russell community to come out and celebrate life, enjoy music, great food, kids' zone and receive some valuable services,” said Dr. Swannie Jett, CEO of Park DuValle.
More than 20 local nonprofit organizations such as Christopher 2x Game Changers and Have a Heart Clinic, joined with local businesses, including Deep Soul Designs and Gye Nyame Books + More for Fifth Third’s first community event held exclusively for Russell residents, an African American neighborhood in West Louisville.
Last October, Fifth Third pledged to invest $180 million over three years in nine majority Black neighborhoods across the United States to create intergenerational wealth for African Americans. The Russell neighborhood will be receiving up to $20 million in investments for access to capital for small businesses, increased homeownership, workforce development, affordable housing and philanthropy.
Every child at the block party received a free drawstring bookbag full of healthy food and beverages thanks to the Bank’s financial centers in Louisville. In celebration of Fifth Third Day, financial centers across the region participated in a food drive from April 18 – May 9 to tackle hunger in the community. Food donations collected from the Lexington financial centers went directly to God's Pantry Food Bank.
“Nearly 30 million people across the United States — many right here in our own community — struggle with access to healthy foods. It’s estimated that only one in 10 people get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet, and the pandemic has only amplified that statistic,” said Ashley Sokoler, executive director of the American Heart Association in Kentuckiana.. “Eating fresh, nutrition-rich foods not only lowers our risk for physical health threats like cardiovascular disease and stroke, but it can have a significant impact on our mental health as well. That’s why the American Heart Association is focused on expanding access to healthy foods, providing education and working with local businesses like Fifth Third Bank to promote a healthier lifestyle for every single member of our community.”
In addition to the snack bags, Dynamic Face Paint + Design was onsite to make balloon animals and paint the children's faces. Older guests had a chance to win $25 gift cards, watch live cooking demonstrations, and enjoy some heart healthy food options from Pollo food truck and Immanuel’s Kitchen.
“Our plan is to host more community events in Russell,” said Kentucky Regional President Kimberly Halbauer. “But to do that, we must invest more in community engagement to build lasting relationships and trust. This approach will help us leave a positive impression in the months and years to come.”
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