SALT LAKE CITY — Employees from Bank of Utah gathered around garbage bags filled with coats, blankets and other winter clothes Friday in the back of the Crossroads Urban Center Thrift Store.
Sherri Webb, a sales associate, held up a small pink jacket with multicolored hearts and a matching scarf.
"Some little girl's going to look really cute in that," the thrift store's manager, KC Owens, said.
Nearly 400 coats and 100 blankets were collected in the 18 Bank of Utah branches and brought to the center as part of the third annual Warm Bodies, Warm Souls coat drive.
"I love the name," said Scott Parkinson, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the bank. "It is about that feeling you get, right? Warming the soul. The way I look at it is, it's really hard for a person who needs a coat to have a warm soul if you're not warm, your body's not warm."
Owens said having the supplies to deliver warmth "on the front lines" warms not only her soul but all those who receive the donated clothing.
"You pay it forward," she said. "That's what Christmas is about, paying it forward. Some of us are just a little bit luckier right now than others, and it goes back and forth."
Parkinson also presented a check to Owens for $520 donated from local businesses and a check of $1,500 from the bank.
"We're a community bank," Parkinson said. "If you use that term 'community' and take it seriously, this is our community. We better help."
Branda Vincent, a sales associate for Bank of Utah, helped deliver the six car loads of clothing to the thrift store.
"I'm just happy to help," Vincent said. "Seeing the looks on the people's faces … it was amazing."
Craig Roper, chief deposit officer, came dressed as Santa Claus to deliver the clothes.
"We can ask for all the gifts and all the luxuries and all the great things in the world, but taking care of everyone around you is what Christmas is all about," he said. "And that's what Santa Claus is all about."
All 18 branches participated in the Warm Bodies, Warm Souls coat drive and gave the clothing to nine other charities throughout Utah.
The charities included the Erin Kimball Memorial Foundation in St. George, the Lantern House in Ogden, Cache Food Pantry in Logan, Tremonton Community Pantry, New Hope Crisis Center in Brigham City, Community Action Services and Food Bank in Orem, Crossroads Urban Center Thrift Store in Salt Lake City, Bountiful Community Food Pantry, and the Angel Tree and Community Clothing Closet in Price.
The bank also donated $9,500 in cash to the nonprofits.
"They make such a huge difference," Owens said of businesses working together during the holiday season. "It just takes off when you start giving. … That's what Christmas is."
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