In Our Community

Stamford Downtown Balloon Parade was a Big Success

After two years of inclement weather, Sunday brought us great “flying” weather.

Paddington Bear took to the streets of downtown Stamford with 36 balloon handlers and more banner holders. Our volunteers, and for many this was their first balloon parade, marched and spun their way down Summer Street and Atlantic Street in front of large crowds. Marchers waved teal spin signs (2,500 were given out by our street teams) and followed the wild cheers of “spin, spin”.  A big thank you goes out to our balloon handlers. They did an outstanding job helping Paddington wave to his many fans. Thank you to the families who came to support us as well. And special thanks to the Atlantic Branch and Prospect Street teams for their efforts.

Take a look at some of our parade volunteers in action.

Thank you, volunteers!

  • Anne Hardy
  • John Bonora
  • Rey Giallongo
  • Bob Granata
  • Willard Miley
  • Vicki Puciato
  • Sara Tucker
  • Jason Benitez
  • Duncan Lee
  • Prasanta Nath
  • Ricky Arriaga
  • Edens Fleurizard
  • Monique Gist
  • Richard Evanko
  • Nashaly Caraballo
  • Elizabeth Grajeda
  • Brad Lupinacci
  • Stephanie Frederick
  • Anna Marie Pace
  • Nino Antonelli
  • Karen Patterson
  • Gerda Denis
  • Sophia Jean
  • Shaun Intriago
  • Aarti Bansal
  • Shelonddini Louis
  • Kevin Granata
  • Genesis Garcia
  • Sebastian Kulesza
  • Dominique Ruffin
  • Cristina Pace
  • Tamara Ledwith
  • Jennifer DaSilva
  • Michelle Bonora
  • Joe Granata
  • Faith Miley
  • Ryan Ledwith
  • Jose Luis Gutierrez
  • Marita Perillo
  • Stella Amortegui
  • Melissa Houle
  • Melissa Arevalo
  • Dave Metzgar
  • Gabriel Amortegui
  • Sendy Montour

 

In Our Community

First County Bank & Palmer’s Market Donate Turkeys to The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, First County Bank teamed up with Palmer’s Market to donate 100 turkeys, a $1,500 donation, to the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County.

These turkeys will feed dozens of families in need in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, and Wilton. The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to about 80 nonprofit agencies and programs that serve low income residents in their six-town service area through bags of groceries and congregate meals. The centers they serve include soup kitchens, food pantries, child care programs, homeless shelters, senior centers, domestic violence safe houses, and rehabilitation programs.

Pictured: First County Bank employees with Palmer’s Market donate turkeys to the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc. with Aitza Cabrera, Darien branch manager, Greg Palmer, owner of Palmer’s Market, and Mark Rosenbloom, vice president, Cash Management Services.

In Our Community

First County Team Commits to #BeTheChange at ‘MarcUS for Change’ 5K

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

This month, a team of our dedicated employees joined hundreds in committing to “Be the change” at the “MarcUS for Change” 5K road race in Stamford. The mission of MarcUS for Change is to “improve the academic, social, and mental well being of at-risk middle school and high school children,” according to their website, by coordinating local and national opportunities for mentoring, academic support, extracurricular activities, and social development.

The charity was founded in honor of an at-risk student, Marcus Dixon McInerney,  who escaped a life of violence and truancy thanks to the help of a local family offering him a stable home and guidance. His life was cut short in a tragic accident in 2012. “MarcUS for Change” inspires the community to be the change kids need, especially during middle and high school.

First County Bank employees Stella Amortegui, Oscar Carrillo, and Aziza Moustaine joined for team leader Shaun Intriago for the first time. Shaun has participated in the event since its beginning, six years ago. Patryzja Carrillo, Oscar’s wife, and Gabriel, Stella’s son, also joined in the fun.

“MarcUS for change is important because it supports youth mentorships but also celebrates the life of Marcus McInerney Dixon and Marcus Hall,” Shaun said. “Hundreds of participants came out to the event which featured a parade, an international dance festival, and dozens of children’s activities.”

Proceeds from the race went to support the Stamford Public Education Foundation, Stamford High School, the Mayor’s Youth Employment program, the Stamford Youth Foundation football and cheerleading programs, Kids Helping Kids, RF Boxing’s “Stand Up for Youth” 5K, the Rachel Sottosanti Foundation for Mental Health, the Abilis Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford.

For more information, visit the MarcUS for Change website: http://www.marcusforchange.org/

Pictured left to right: Patryzja Carrillo, Gabriel Amortegui, Stella Amortegui, Oscar Carrillo, Aziza Moustaine, Shaun Intriago

Bank News, In Our Community

Local Public School Teachers Can Apply Now for FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers

First County Bank Foundation is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the annual FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers, a grant program developed exclusively for public school K-5 grade teachers.

The FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers was established in 2016 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of First County Bank Foundation. Eligible grant recipients are Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers in Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Westport, Fairfield and neighboring communities of Bridgeport public school districts. Grant applications are accepted now through the deadline of October 31, 2018 and are available online at FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers or http://firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant.

“This is an exciting program supporting teachers to help them provide supplemental educational programs to their students, which otherwise may not have been affordable,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, president of First County Bank Foundation and chairman, CEO of First County Bank. “It is rewarding to observe students’ joy of learning from these innovative programs. This is one way First County Bank Foundation demonstrates its commitment to supporting families, children and education in the communities we serve.”

FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers was designed by First County Bank Foundation to help teachers fund programs fostering creative education in and beyond the classroom. Special consideration will be given to requests that are creative, innovative and have lasting impact. Examples of program topics include nature-based, astronomy, financial literacy, conservation, environmental, music or art. Examples of past grants are available at FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers or http://firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant.

Starting in November, grants will be awarded with funds available for use during the 2018-19 school year. Applications for the FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers can be conveniently completed online at www.firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant. Requested grant amounts may not exceed $1,000 and principal authorization is required. Grant requests for books, magazine subscriptions, school trips and computer equipment such as tablets or laptops are not eligible. Questions can be answered by contacting 203-462-4858. Deadline for applications is October 31, 2018.

Bank News, In Our Community

October Food Drive

Please join us in collecting non-perishable food donations during the month of October for The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. Last year, food drives provided one-third of all the food distributed by The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc. Through the efforts of local businesses, schools, churches and clubs, the organization helped feed over 200,000 individuals in the community.

The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to any qualified non-profit agency in a six-town area which includes soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food pantries, child day care centers, after school programs, senior centers and rehabilitation programs.

In Fairfield County, a family of four needs an annual salary of about $71,000 to avoid being “food insecure,” i.e. lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Often, the working poor only earn Connecticut’s minimum wage, and many choose between eating nutritiously or paying the rent. Therefore, they obtain food via food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters that are member agencies of The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc.

Food Insecurity in Connecticut

  • 13.9% of Connecticut residents are food insecure and 6% are very food insecure
  • Only 51 students participate in free and reduced price breakfast for every 100 in lunch.
  • Only 53% of the eligible working poor participate in the SNAP (food stamps) program. Many go to food pantries instead for food.
  • Over 700,000 Connecticut adults are living below the Federal poverty level.
  • Over 118,000 Connecticut children are living in poverty.

Source EndHungerCT.org

Now through Wednesday, October 31, First County Bank will serve as a donation center and we encourage the community to bring in canned goods, boxed goods and other non-perishable food items to help stock the shelves.

Will you be a part of the change and #BankonEndingHunger this October by donating to The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County? Please stop by one of our branches to bring your non-perishable food items now through the end of October.

For branch locations visit: https://www.firstcountybank.com/branch-hours-locations-and-directions

Bank News, Customer Profile, In Our Community, Smart Savings Tips

FirstPrize $avings Winner: Evelin S. Molina-Payes

First County Bank congratulates the recent winner of the FirstPrize $avings account prize drawing– Evelin S. Molina-Payes of Stamford, CT. Evelin is a college student and plans to use her $1,000 winnings on text books and other class supplies.

The FirstPrize $avings account is a basic savings account with a cash prize drawing component to promote personal savings. With each eligible deposit of $25 or more, the account holder earns an entry into a drawing for a $1,000 prize. The drawing occurs four times per calendar year.

Account details, rules and regulations are posted on the First County Bank savings account website: https://firstcountybank.com/firstprize-savings. To learn more about the FirstPrize $avings account, click view the official FirstPrize $avings Account Official Rules which may be found in the Savings Account Disclosure.

Pictured left to right:  Executive Vice President Willard Miley; Branch Manager Edens Fleurizard; prize winner; Evelin S. Molina-Payes, President and COO, Bob Granata.

Bank News, First County Bank Profile, In Our Community

Employee Profile: Meet Mat DeRienzo

We’ve been sharing about some of our front-line branch personnel and now we’re expanding to share stories about our wonderful employees who you don’t always see, who support the First County Bank team employees behind the scenes.

This week we meet Mat DeRienzo, a Network/PC Specialist I who works in our IT department. Mat (with one “T”) started out with us four months ago as an intern and was hired to work at First County Bank full-time over the summer.

Tell us a little about yourself – feel free to include information about your family, hobbies and/or involvement in the community:

I am a huge Yankees fan. I also love everything car related and enjoy working on my own car when I get the chance. I’m also guilty of playing video games, which often results in me staying up later than I should on weekdays.

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?

My favorite part about working in IT is being a problem solver. It gives me great satisfaction whenever I fix something.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

The most frequent question I get asked is “can you unblock this site for me?” I normally respond by telling them there’s a process to follow and, unfortunately, I cannot do it on the spot.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

My favorite moment was my internship. The work I received at First County Bank was not “busy work.” It was meaningful work that not only taught me a great deal of information, but was also rewarding. Even though I was only an intern at the time, I felt as if I was part of the team.

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience at the Bank (Optional)?

I’d like to say that I feel truly fortunate that my first job out of college is at First County Bank. I’m a pretty quiet person and was very anxious to embark in my first step to being a real adult. Everyone I interact with is incredibly kind and makes it much easier to be comfortable and confident.

In Our Community, Sponsorships & Events

Oyster Festival 2018: Thank You to Our Volunteers!

The Norwalk Seaport Association’s Oyster Festival was a success! Cloudy skies and occasional rain didn’t keep die-hard Festival-goers from attending and enjoying the many rides and food choices– from funnel cakes to gyros to lobster. Attendees enjoyed unique arts and crafts, games, rides, and attractions. The highlight of the weekend was our volunteers at the spinning wheel who encouraged visitors to spin for a chance to win a pair of sunglasses, lip balm, or a water bottle. Our booth drew big crowds, each guest hoping for a prize! Everyone was a winner.

An annual favorite, the teal bags were a hit with thousands handed out by volunteers. By the end of the weekend, we had achieved a sea of First County Bank teal bags wandering through the carnival and the other attractions.

 

We thank all of the volunteers who spent part of their Friday, Saturday, or Sunday with us to staff our tent. Visit our Facebook page for a complete photo gallery.

In Our Community, Sponsorships & Events

Ribbon Cutting Kicks Off Official Start of Norwalk Oyster Festival

The ribbon has been cut which kicks off the official start of the 41st Annual Norwalk Oyster Festival! We’re happy to be the Presenting Sponsor at this awesome 3-day family event which will be held on Fri., Sept. 7 – Sun., Sept. 9 at Norwalk Veteran’s Memorial Park.  

For more information, visit https://www.seaport.org/Oyster-Festival

Left to right: State Senator Bob Duff; State Rep. Terrie Wood; Robert Granata, President and COO, First County Bank; Mike Reilly, Chairman, Norwalk Seaport Association Oyster Festival; Mayor Harry Rilling, City of Norwalk; Willard Miley, Executive VP, First County Bank; State Rep. Fred Wilms; and State Rep. Gail Lavielle.

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

FirstClass Grant for Teachers

First County Bank Foundation is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the annual FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers, a grant program developed exclusively for public school K-5 grade teachers in Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Westport, Fairfield and neighboring communities of Bridgeport public school districts. Grant applications are accepted now through the deadline of October 31, 2018 and are available online at FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers or http://firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant.

“This is an exciting program supporting teachers to help them provide supplemental educational programs to their students, which otherwise may not have been affordable,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, president of First County Bank Foundation and chairman, CEO of First County Bank. “It is rewarding to observe students’ joy of learning from these innovative programs. This is one way First County Bank Foundation demonstrates its commitment to supporting families, children and education in the communities we serve.”

FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers was designed by First County Bank Foundation to help teachers fund programs fostering creative education in and beyond the classroom. Special consideration will be given to requests that are creative, innovative and have lasting impact. Examples of program topics include nature-based, astronomy, financial literacy, conservation, environmental, music or art. Examples of past grants are available at FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers or http://firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant.

Starting in November, grants will be awarded with funds available for use during the 2018-19 school year. Applications for the FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers can be conveniently completed online at www.firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant. Requested grant amounts may not exceed $1,000 and principal authorization is required. Grant requests for books, magazine subscriptions, school trips and computer equipment such as tablets or laptops are not eligible. Questions can be answered by contacting 203-462-4858. Deadline for applications is October 31, 2018.

Photo caption: Students having fun participating in one of the many supplemental educational programs sponsored by First County Bank Foundation’s FirstClass Grant for Teachers.