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United Community Bank plants 'apple tree' for teachers

It's apple pickin' time at Pegram's United Community Bank.


And the “apple tree” is right at the bank's front door, a bit skinny and forlorn looking but still bearing fruit. Like the “angel trees” of Christmas that link generous gift givers to needy recipients, this tree enables donors to support teachers at the Pegram and Kingston Springs elementary schools by picking a paper “apple” and buying the items listed on it.


The apple tree will be available at Pegram's United Community Bank through the end of July. / Edward Morris

The bank will collect the gift supplies from donors and take them at the start of the next school year to the teachers who requested them. “Planted” in early June, the tree will be in place through July.


Bank spokeswoman Tiffany Cundall said the tree is an extension of a program the bank instituted at the two elementary schools when it still bore the name “Community Bank & Trust.” Under the program and with the assistance of their parents, students set up savings accounts. Someone from the bank visits the schools once a month to collect whatever amount the student chooses to deposit.


“It's kind of a mock bank situation,” Cundall explained, “because kids don't always get to come to a bank. They get excited saving money and learning how all this stuff works.” In addition, the students are given prizes and other small incentives for their participation.


To keep the school connection alive through the summer, the bank came up with the apple tree concept. “We asked the teachers to give us a wish list for supplies that their regular funding doesn't always cover. Then we broke the compiled list into smaller [numbers of items] we thought people could afford to help out with — something like giving the teacher an apple.”

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