It was a devastating loss.
She had spent years working for Volunteers of America North Louisiana (VOANLA). Her role was to connect veterans, often who were struggling from the trauma of combat, with emergency shelter, permanent housing, and additional support to help them move forward.
Then, Andraia Sanders’ life was cut short. News reports said she was the first patient lost to COVID-19 in northwest Louisiana. The pain is felt by family, friends, coworkers, and countless people she helped through the years.
“This is her legacy – serving and helping veterans,” said Lisa Brandeburg, Communications and Development Executive Vice President for VOANLA. “It meant so much to her that veterans wouldn’t be homeless. Everyone is affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, and it became extremely personal to us when we lost someone so dear to all of us. While this is a very difficult time, we’re focused on honoring her legacy by maintaining essential services for the veterans she cared about so deeply.”
We’re focused on honoring her legacy.
Lisa Brandeburg, Communications and Development Executive Vice President for VOANLA
Regions Bank has long supported VOANLA, including through grants and volunteerism. The bank is now providing a new financial grant to help sustain veterans’ services. VOANLA personnel are working every day to build on the foundation provided by Sanders, and any financial support is helpful for an organization that reaches so many people.
“Our broader organization also serves children and families, seniors, and people with disabilities,” said Tricia Jowell, Communications Director for VOANLA. “Our expenses are up because of the precautions we need to take to safely deliver services during COVID-19. It’s because of donor support that we can provide housing, shelter, food, case-management, and other support for those in need.”
Organizations like VOANLA are crucial to the strength of communities, said Mark Evans, Market Executive for Regions in Shreveport. That’s why it’s all the more important to support them during a crisis.
“It’s been said many times during this pandemic that we’re all in this together,” Evans said. “That’s true. And we must remember as this crisis continues to evolve that nonprofit support is essential. I would encourage anyone who’s in a position to give to look at the organizations that are making a vital difference, and consider how you can help.”
Regions is working with nonprofits across more than a dozen states where the company has offices. Recently, the bank announced the donation of advertising to nonprofit food banks that are battling hunger, an issue that’s grown increasingly urgent during the pandemic. The new ads produced by Regions encourage viewers to help support food banks through a monetary gift.
Also, the nonprofit Regions Foundation is issuing grants to organizations helping small businesses affected by the virus. Further, the foundation recently announced it will match, dollar-for-dollar, donations by Regions Bank associates to United Way chapters and Community Foundations responding to COVID-19. And both the bank and the foundation are identifying additional areas of service.
To find another example, travel a few hours from Shreveport. In Baton Rouge, Regions Bank is supporting the local chapter of the Salvation Army, which is working with the Arts Council to cut material for masks and gowns. The Salvation Army is also supporting meal outreach and other services. And nearby, the bank is building on its support of the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, a community development organization that takes an inclusive approach toward spurring financial investments in a previously neglected area.
While COVID-19 threatens progress in our communities, the alliance isn’t stopping its work. And a financial grant from Regions Bank will help sustain it.
“We’ve come too far to stop now,” said Danny Montelaro, Market Executive for Regions in Baton Rouge. “There’s no doubt the coronavirus has taken a severe toll. But we are committed to helping our communities, and we are staying true to our mission.”
Elsewhere, important outreach is taking place through the simple power of people and organizations working together, using existing resources to meet a need. As an example, one of Regions’ community partners – United Way of Acadiana – joined others around Lafayette to serve students without computers or internet access.
Through the combined efforts of nonprofits, educators and businesses, including AOC Community Media and cable provider Cox Communications, localized educational programming is now being cablecast into homes, giving more students in several parishes a new way to continue learning.
“This is simply the latest example of why Regions is proud to support United Way of Acadiana,” said Tracy Broussard, Consumer Banking Manager for Regions. “They found a unique way to meet a need that didn’t exist until recently. That’s the spirit of collaboration that is so important to help a community during a time of crisis.”