Christmas Partnership lisadanford December 19, 2023

Christmas Partnership

It’s become a holiday tradition with a big impact. Every student at Bobbie B. Fairfax School and their families have Christmas presents under their tree, thanks to employees at Fifth Third Bank.

“They go above and beyond shopping for all the gifts, wrapping them, and organizing the entire event,” said Rob Moody, educational administrator at Fairfax. “They even have Santa here to meet the students on delivery day. It’s been a great partnership, and they’re wonderful community partners.”

This year, employees at Fifth Third’s Operations Center, which is next to the school in Madisonville, provided gifts for 31 students and their families.

Raven Simmons, whose son Roland attends Fairfax, said she’s thankful for the Christmas gifts. “I work from home and my husband is a trucker—funds are limited,” she said. “This definitely means a lot for Santa to show up, ask us what it is that we want and make it happen. I thank everyone who has made this happen for my family.”

Jim Beltz, vice president and senior commercial loan fulfillment manager at Fifth Third, has been spearheading the adopt-a-family program for about five years. Once they get the Christmas wish lists for each student, teams and individual employees adopt families to get as many gifts as possible for every member of the household, including pets.

“There’s a lot of people that just really want to get into the giving spirit—it just helps to lift everybody up this time of year,” Beltz said. “It means a lot. I love to be able to give back, and there are so many people that feel the same way.”

Some years, requests include high-ticket items like iPads or hoverboards. But most often it’s new clothing, books, gift cards for groceries, and toys for the kids to play with throughout the year.

Since the partnership began a decade ago, Moody estimates close to 200 families have received gifts. “It’s a tremendous amount of effort and an outpouring of caring, generosity and support,” he said. “Many of our families wouldn’t have holidays without the support of Fifth Third. The students, families and our staff absolutely love it. It just brings a lot of holiday cheer to Bobbie B. Fairfax.”

Four adults and one child stand around a table filled with Christmas presents.
Santa stands next to a student who has a big smile on his face.
Five adults gather around a stack of presents for students at their school. They're all in festive holiday attire.

Top: A team from Fifth Third poses with Willi, whose family received presents as part of an ongoing partnership.

Middle: A student visits with Santa, who stops by every year on gift delivery day.

Bottom: Staff from Fairfax School with some of the gifts for students bought by Fifth Third Operations Center employees.