By Celeste Lohrenz
Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” As amazing as it may seem, nearly 13% of Americans overall – and 17.5% of children – live in households that are considered “food insecure.” That’s about 13 million children.
What that means for those children is that the only place they are guaranteed to get a full, nutritious meal is school. Outside of school, it is often a different story. This can result in malnutrition, higher rates of illness and hospitalization, poor academic performance, insecurity, lack of social skills, and other chronic issues. Ironically, it can also result in obesity for those who experience partial food insecurity because they often overeat when food is available in an effort to make up for missed meals, or they fill themselves up with inexpensive junk food.
Food insecurity is a problem that knows no geographic boundaries and impacts even the wealthiest states in the nation. In Connecticut, the child food insecurity rate is lower than the national rate, at 15.6%, but New Haven County registered a 17% child food insecurity rate.
There are many food banks and other programs that do their share to help collect food and money to provide food for these hungry children. Many of them are modeled after a weekend food program started in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1995 when a school nurse asked for help providing food for students that were complaining and stomach pains and dizziness.
Milford Food 2 Kids was created to help stem the food gap for children in Milford. With help from many selfless volunteers, the organization hands out bags of child-friendly food each week to children in need. Its mission to feed hungry children began in 2016, when it initially delivered 26 weekend food bags to children in two schools. By the end of the recently concluded school year, it had expanded its service to 166 children in 13 schools. Its goal is to continue to expand the Food 2 Kids program into a sustainable program that will provide food for children on an ongoing basis.
In order for programs like Food 2 Kids to succeed and effectively help close the food gap, they need help from individuals willing to donate to their cause, as well as from local organizations who help to organize donation drives.
As a local presence in Milford for more than 140 years, The Milford Bank has been very active in serving the needs of its communities beyond providing banking services. Each year, the Bank provides event sponsorships, charitable donations, and hosts its own events, like its recent paper shredding and e-recycling day.
In its ongoing mission to give back to the community it has been a part of for so long, The Milford Bank will be active in supporting the Food 2 kids program and will be accepting cash donations at all of its Milford locations throughout the month of September. Donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of finds raised will help Food 2 kids meet its 2018 goals. Contributions of all sizes are welcome: $7 will feed a child for a weekend, while $280 sponsors one child for the entire school year. For more information, please contact any Milford Office of The Milford Bank.
In addition to the collection drive, many employees of The Milford Bank are planning their own ways to raise funds for Milford Food 2 Kids throughout the month. Do not be surprised to see or hear about a special contest or bake sale. The Bank Employees have set a fundraising goal of $20,000. This matches Bank donations to the program for each of the past two years.
Food 2 Kids is always looking for more volunteers to help with shopping and picking up food, packing, delivering, stocking, and spreading the word throughout the community. Interested volunteers should contact Food 2 Kids directly at 203-877-4277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Celeste Lohrenz
As a community bank, we understand that your success is our success. Without a thriving, engaged and prosperous community around us, we wouldn’t be where we are today. With the holidays approaching, it becomes more important than ever to lend a helping hand. This November, Milford Bank will be putting on a number of events for the local community. Take a closer look and see how you can get involved!
Food 2 Kids fundraiser: For many local children, the only reliable source of food is their school cafeteria. This weekend, outside of school, roughly 180 Milford-area kids will have no food to eat. Milford Bank is challenging the community to help raise funds to put an end to food insecurity. You can make a donation at any of our Milford locations until the end of the year. All participants will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card. For raffle details, call us or stop by any Milford Location of The Milford Bank. For weekly updates, follow Milford Bank on social media.
Bite Sized Business Marketing Seminar Series: Milford Bank is also dedicated to providing area business leaders the resources they need to succeed. Beyond providing loans and investment vehicles for businesses, we’ll also be running seminars this month to help you grow your organization. There will be one event coming up this month:
- November 17: Growing Your Business with LinkedIn, with Susan Catalano, LinkedIn Expert & Managing Partner of LQLaCorte LLC.
In today’s digital economy, understanding how to boost your LinkedIn profile can help your business achieve success. to sign up, please contact Rebecca Tudor at mailto:email@example.com 203-783-5789.
Winter Wonderland: The Milford Bank will host “Winter Wonderland” on Thursday, November 25th at the Bank’s Main Office, located on the Milford Green from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. The event, which will take place during Milford’s Annual Lighting of the Trees, will feature various winter-themed activities for children and adults of all ages.
Attendees will be treated to character impersonators for a meet & greet and photos, a train ride, Pokémon lures, carolers, crafts and much more!
To learn about more ways The Milford Bank gives back to the local community this fall, sign up for our monthly newsletter here or stop by location near you.
By Jorge Santiago
While there are countless banks you can choose to protect and grow your wealth, the simple truth is that there are many differences between the global megabanks you might be more familiar with and locally-focused community banks.
The question you’ve got to ask yourself is this: which type of bank will meet the needs of you and your family?
You already know all about the megabanks. They’ve got stadiums named after them. They’ve got expensive commercials featuring famous actors and actresses. The odds are, you know all about what the megabanks can offer.
So here’s a closer look at what a community bank can provide:
- The same services as bigger banks. A smaller bank doesn’t equate to smaller financial service offerings. Community banks can provide everything you’ve come to expect: investment vehicles, insurance, business loans, mortgages, financial consultation, retirement accounts and more.
- You can get to know every employee.
- Your success is their success. The deposits made at community banks are redistributed in the form of business loans and mortgages to other members of the local economy. That means community bankers have a vested interest in your financial well-being.
- Greater investment in community events. We’re also renowned for spurring greater attention to local community events. Raising money for local causes helps bring the community together and draws on the spirit of what community banking is all about.
- You aren’t just another number. Community bankers can take the time to get the whole picture about who you are as an individual, and take that into account when working with you.
- Streamlined financial processes. You won’t have to jump through hoops when you do your banking locally. You’ll be able to work with just a handful of individuals and take the time to build a relationship.
You already knew about what the megabanks were all about. Now you know what community banks can do for your family. If banking local sounds like the right choice for you and your family stop by the nearest Milford Bank branch location to you. Click here to find out more.
By Rebecca Tudor
Since being launched in early July, the mobile application Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm. It took only one week for 10 million users to download the game (a new record) and has now been downloaded over 30 million times.
The odds are, you or someone you know is on the path to becoming a pokemaster themselves. Be sure to stop by The Milford Bank’s locations at some point along your path. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s what you can expect when you stop by:
- At our downtown office, there are 12 pokestops within a half-mile radius where you can resupply yourself with pokeballs, eggs and other boosters to help you capture the monsters. There are also four pokegyms nearby where you can test your skills battling other players.
- At our Post Road West office, you’ll find one stop and one gym nearby.
- In the vicinity around our Devon location, there are two pokestops.
- There’s a pokegym very close to our Woodmont office.
- Near our Stratford location, you’ll find three pokestops and a gym.
- There have even been pokemon spotted inside our Post Road East location.
We’ll even be setting up lures within our locations to draw pokemon into our offices. Be sure to look for updates by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see when a pokemon you still need to collect makes an appearance.
When you stop in to one of our branches, be sure to mention pokemon to one of our friendly representatives and you’ll even receive a free blink light so you can safely hunt after dark as well.
Speaking of safety, be sure to follow these guidelines put out by the Connecticut state police:
- Don’t play while driving.
- Don’t trespass on private property (scaling fences, parachuting, tunneling, etc.).
- Don’t fight or argue with other players.
- Don’t be lured by a beacon signal into unfamiliar surroundings.
- Stay alert near roads.
- Make yourself visible when playing at night.
- Play with friends or family.
The Milford Bank even has a few employees that moonlight as pokemon trainers that have been happy to provide a few tips on how to improve as a player yourself. But don’t be surprised to receive an invitation to test your skills as a pokemon trainer if you run into one of them.
- The pokemon eggs you collect will require you to walk a certain distance to make them hatch. Gather up as many eggs as you can before embarking on a long walk to save yourself time and energy.
- Try to be as accurate as possible when throwing a pokeball out to capture a pokemon. Not only will this increase the likelihood of capture, saving you resources, but you’ll gain extra experience points for accurate tosses, which will help you level up more quickly.
- When you’re in the heat of battle, wait until your screen starts to flash yellow and then swipe your screen to the right or left and you’ll have a chance to dodge your enemy’s attack.
To find out the nearest office of The Milford Bank to you, or to see how you can follow our social media accounts for the latest Pokemon Go updates, click here.
By Janet Harrison
Here at The Milford Bank, we don’t think of ourselves as just your local financial institution. We don’t think of ourselves as simply bank employees either. The Milford Bank team is a family. We’re staffed by hard-working people just like you with a dedication to being active members of the community, both individually and collectively.
We believe in the value of having a strong community and know that creating such a climate is made much easier by building lasting relationships. That’s why we don’t stop building relationships outside of the bank lobby—we work hand in hand with many local charities and non-profits that share in our vision for the Milford area.
Here are a few of the organizations we’re currently working with to build a healthy and prosperous community. Read on to see what they’re all about and what you can find going on in the Milford area over the next few months.
Boys and Girls Club: The Boys and Girls Club has autonomous chapters across the country dedicated to providing boys and girls of all ages a safe facility to learn reach their full potential through programs ranging from athletics, arts, life and career skills. The Milford chapter has summer offerings as well as afterschool programs that will start up in the fall. On August 7, the group will be fundraising with the always exciting annual Walnut Beach Ice Cream Run. You can click here to learn more, register or become a sponsor.
United Way: As one of the largest charitable organizations in the world, United Way has taken up the task of strengthening communities by performing a wide variety of good deeds from building classrooms in the Philippines to providing job training right here at home. United Way of Milford gets involved hosts many local events, but perhaps their largest event of the year will take place September 16—the United Way of Milford’s 15th annual golf tournament, scheduled to take place this year at the Woodbridge Country Club. For registration or contact info, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203) 874-6791.
Sterling House: Built in 1886, the Sterling House has in subsequent years been transformed into a living reminder of our rich local history that now fulfills the role of a community center. Serving over 13,000 local residents each year with affordable social, educational and recreational activities, Sterling House is a vital asset in fostering a positive and healthy community. Stop by on July 23 or August 20 to enjoy open swimming, crafts, music, food and fun for the whole family, or wait for the Sterling Down and Dirty 5K taking place September 10 at Short Beach in Stratford. All proceeds will help support the Sterling House’s community projects.
Be sure to check back in for the next installment of Community Roundup to learn what our other partners around town are up to over the next few months. Also follow Milford Bank on Facebook and Twitter to see more exciting events. You can reach out by checking out our website here.
by Lynn Viesti Berube
Attention high school grads: are you heading off to college in the fall but not quite sure what you want to study?
You are not alone.
According to recent statistics, as many as 80 percent of college freshman walk onto campus for the first time without having chosen a major. Moreover, upwards of 50 percent of those who do choose a major early end up switching majors at some point—often two, three, or even four times!
This article will give you several of the most rewarding majors in terms of return on investment (ROI), in order to help guide you in a smart direction financially, and can also show you what you can do with each degree. After all, college is expensive—why not make the most of it!
Without further ado, here are five of the best majors to consider in terms of ROI:
Pardon the bad pun, but economics majors really are getting an “economic” college education. The ROI of an economics degree from a public university is 182 percent—the highest on this list! In terms of actual jobs and salaries, the median income for a corporate economist is over $115,000, while the average salary for an investment operations manager is nearly $143,000. Economics majors may see sustained job growth in this sector going forward.
- Information Technology
Few industries are growing at a faster rate than IT, and that trend should continue through at least the next decade as mobile networks continue to expand, and healthcare IT becomes more prevalent. IT majors possess a skill-set that can be utilized in many facets of business. The ROI for IT majors can range anywhere from 126 percent for web application developers (a position with incredible demand), to 169 percent for IT managers.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, math majors may have a tremendous number of opportunities available to them once they graduate. Math occupations are expected to grow by 28 percent over the next decade, and any position that requires complex computation likely requires a math major. From accounts payable/receivable managers to actuaries, many math majors earn well over 100 percent ROI with their degree.
The last two majors on this list comprise the fastest growing set of majors across college campuses. Over the last five years, science and engineering degrees grew by over 19 percent (compared to 9 percent among other majors). The world simply needs more engineers, whether it’s electrical engineers (median salary of $92,000), civil engineers ($82,000) or chemical engineers ($76,000).
While behavioral science has seen a staggering 89 percent growth over the last five years to pace the sciences discipline, biology is the much better long term investment for students. The average salary for a behavioral science major is just $34,000—well below jobs that are available to those with a biology degree—such as health and safety supervisor ($72,000), clinical research associate ($72,000), and laboratory manager ($85,000). All three of those positions offer an ROI in excess of 100 percent.
For more advice on how to get the most out of your college education, stop by any office of The Milford Bank!
By Lynda Mason
Have you ever gone to a bank where, when you walked in, you’d experience an icy sensation from the stuffy environment; you were likely afraid to touch anything or even make a noise? Many of us have been in that kind of bank, too.
And that’s why we work hard at The Milford Bank to ensure that we provide our customers with an inviting climate every time they come through our doors. In fact, we pride ourselves on creating an environment in which our customers feel comfortable.
Let’s take a look at three things you can expect when you walk into The Milford Bank:
1. A warm welcome. Our employees aren’t typical bankers or salespeople. Rather, we focus on delivering customer service that is unmatched by our competitors. We really try to go above and beyond in making our customers feel at home. As such, our knowledgeable and friendly staff will likely even learn your name.
2. A personal touch. Our staff is encouraged to send out little “thank you” notes to our customers over the course of a week. We also periodically call our customers to ask them how they’re doing. We find that our customers really enjoy our approach to banking. In fact, some of them even pop in just to say hi.
3. No pressure. We understand how important your finances are. If we think one of our customers is missing a product or service that is a good fit for him or her, we’ll talk about it. But, whereas our competitors might push a product, our recommendations are made with a light touch. At the end of the day, we just want to make sure our customers have everything they need. In other words, we won’t hype so-called “products of the week.”
If you’ve not yet experienced The Milford Bank, we encourage you to come into one of our seven locations and say hello. You can also contact us by clicking here.
By Jorge Santiago
“I go out of my way to take care of who’s in front of me. I love all of our customers.”
So says teller Lisa Richetelli, a familiar face at our Broad Street branch for the last 14 years. While many of our customers certainly know Lisa, some might not know that she’s married to another well-known local: Her husband James served as Milford’s ninth mayor from 2001 to 2011. Both spouses revel in their Milford citizenry and were happy to raise their children here among friends, while enjoying the town’s many amenities, like the beautiful seashore.
Lisa finds job satisfaction at The Milford Bank even in everyday simple efforts to assist customers. For example, she described a recent experience helping an elderly woman learn how to operate the bank’s ATM machine. “By the time she left, she was in great spirits,” Lisa recounted. For her, it’s important that every customer who comes through the door has a good banking experience.
After Lisa graduated high school, she worked at The Milford Bank for about a decade before leaving to raise her three children. She returned to her “home away from home” fourteen years ago in a part-time capacity, saying that she couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. “It’s a hometown bank, so people will talk about what’s going on,” she said. “Most of us live in Milford or are from around here, so the bank has a really community-oriented feel.”
Lisa said she looks forward to seeing whoever walks up to her counter. Even though there are customers she knows better than others, she tries to treat everyone the same. “We know most of our customers,” Lisa explained, “and we make it a point to get to know the customers we don’t know.”
The Milford Bank strives to hire tellers who will be courteous, friendly and helpful at all times, and Lisa perfectly embodies those characteristics.
Please stop by our Broad Street branch and say hello!
By Bob Russo
Buying a house is a major decision for anyone. But over time, that decision—no matter how complex—pays dividends as your house becomes your home.
For many Americans, home ownership is most likely the greatest expense they will undertake during their lives. Although the market has shown vast improvement—recent research shows that although only 4 percent of homeowners are behind on their mortgages—there is still room for progress. For instance, some homeowners may have all their money tied up in the walls, meaning they are stuck when it comes to figuring out how to pay for life’s other great expenses such as college tuition, vacations, and that new car, to name a few.
A number of situations may mean that it’s time for you to consider refinancing your mortgage, or replacing your current mortgage with a new one. After all, the last thing you want is to risk losing your home or be unable to fund your daughter’s wedding. But before you take that next step, you should know precisely what it means to refinance so that you end up in a better position financially when all is said and done.
Refinancing is the process of replacing a current mortgage in order to reduce monthly payments by obtaining lower interest rates. Nobody likes paying more than they have to for anything, and lower rates usually translate to lower monthly payments. For example, if you took out a $100,000 loan with a 6.75 percent interest rate, you’d have a monthly principal and interest payment of $649. If you were to refinance that loan at 4.5 percent, your monthly payment would shrink to $507.
The price of your home may increase in value over time, generally speaking. If you’re about to send the kids off to college or want to pay for that long-awaited retirement trip, for example, you may be able to take out a home equity loan while refinancing as well.
Would you like to lower your monthly payment? Are your interest rates too high? Is it time for you to take some equity out of your home?
We at The Milford Bank will answer all of your questions regarding mortgages and home equity loans and help you get the financial security you and your family deserve. Click here to meet our mortgage specialists or to access our free pre-qualification form.