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First State Bank’s Community Champions

Honoring those who give back

First State Bank and KNEB are partnering to recognize those in our community that give back. Nominate someone whose contributions or involvement should be recognized as a Champion for our Community! 

Nominate your Community Champion.

Gift of Love Program

What started as a “Dress A Doll” contest has grown into so much more…First State Bank’s annual Gift of Love Program.


2019 Program Dates

  • November 7, (5-7 p.m.): Gift of Love Kickoff (The Tree of Names will be available to choose a name that evening)
  • November 1 – December 31: Donations of NEW kids’ coats accepted at both Scottsbluff and Gering branches
  • November 8 – December 11: Names available for choosing from Tree of Names
  • December 11: All gifts need to be returned to First State Bank
  • December 6:  Canned food pickups and weighing (December 5th will be added if needed)
  • December 14: (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.): Truck of Love! Accepting donations of new and gently used toys and coats in the Scottsbluff Branch parking lot, as well as canned food donations

Four Components 

Tree of Names

In the lobby of both Scottsbluff and Gering branches we have trees that have “wish lists” of local children, we ask all that can to come pick a name and help make the holiday season brighter for that child. 

Truck of Love

We will have a NTC truck in the parking lot of the Scottsbluff branch to accept new and gently used toys, the Lakota Lutheran Center van we try and stuff with gently used coats and the National Guard will be collecting canned goods and non-perishable food items for the Valley Christian Neighbors in Need food pantry. 

Coats for Kids

There are collection boxes in both the Scottsbluff and Gering locations for new kid’s coats.  These coats are given to CAPWN to disperse to children in need. 

Canned Food Challenge

We challenge the schools to collect non-perishable food items. The Elementary school that collects the most pounds receives a trip to the Midwest theater for a private showing of the Holiday movie. In 2017, First Student will be donating busing for the schools to attend. The Upper level school that collects the most pounds will receive a technology tablet of their choice, up to a $250 value.

This is what makes it all so giving to our Gift of Love Program, you can truly reach out and touch the lives of others ...AND KNOW THAT IT STAYS RIGHT HERE IN YOUR COMMUNITY! 

History of the Gift of Love 

In l981, First State Bank began a "Dress A Doll" Contest. The Bank purchased dolls, which were given to area women to dress, and then the dolls were given as gifts at Christmas time to less fortunate children. The next year it was decided that boys were being left a "Create A Toy" Contest was added with wooden toy kits (airplanes, trucks, etc.) purchased by the Bank and given out for people to sand, paint, and finish. These gifts were then distributed to both boys and girls. This continued for several years until the quality of the dolls and toy kits became inferior and another source could not be found. The name was changed to "GIFT OF LOVE", and the program changed to include food and gifts for all ages. In 1986 First State Bank purchased the Bank of Gering and inherited their tradition of the "CAP AND MITTEN TREE". At that time all of the toys and gifts where displayed in the Scottsbluff lobby, and the caps and mittens in the Gering lobby for everyone to enjoy before they are delivered the week before Christmas. 

Each year the program has grown so that many more people are being touched. Some ladies crochet and sew all year long for the program. Some have purchased gifts. Many purchase an extra sack of groceries when they are at the store. Some give cash. Some classes have held fundraisers and then purchased gifts themselves. Shop classes have made toys. Schools classrooms compete against each other to see who can collect the most can good items. Santa has gone to some schools to pick up their gifts and food, etc. The children are told how important it is for them to reach out to someone less fortunate than they and especially how meaningful it is for the recipients when they receive their "GIFT OF LOVE" from someone they don't even know.

Several years ago, an effort began to develop a "screening process" for recipients of food baskets and gifts from the various organizations in the community. This was done so there would be less duplication and thus, more people on the receiving end. CAPWN maintains the list, which is comprised of applicants from their Holiday Wish List application process, every October. 

2019 Turkey Trot

In 2015, First State Bank partnered with the YMCA to bring a the first Jingle Jog to Scottsbluff.  In 2019, we decided to switch things up and begin alternating the Jingle Jog with a Turkey Trot!  No matter if it is a year that you have your Bells on or a year that you Gobble, each race supports the Gift of Love.  At time of registration, bring an unwrapped toy and receive a discounted entry fee amount!

Turkey Trot (Odd years)

Come run the race before you stuff your face On November 23, 2019!  This family friendly 5K Walk/Run & 1 mile fun run has something for everyone!  The 5 K walk/Run will be a timed event, but the 1 mile fun run is not timed.  By bringing a new, unwrapped gift at the time of registration to the YMCA or First State Bank, receive $5 off registration fee for the 5K. The race will begin and end at the YMCA and will travel along the pathway. Winners in each age division will receive a gift certificate for a frozen turkey from Main Street Market.

Turkey Trot Registration

Jingle Jog (Even years)

This 3 mile fun run/walk is for all parents, grandparents, non joggers or even an elf on the shelf! The course begins at First State Bank, travels through Centennial Park, loops around Monument Mall and ends at the mini park on 18th street. Anybody wishing to participate in the Jingle Jog will receive $10 off registration by presenting a new, unwrapped gift.


We love our communities

And we’re not afraid to show it. From sponsoring local events to honoring those who give back.

Feel the Warmth