Joe Dang of Bank of America volunteers his time providing free lunches and carefree summers to Portland children

Joe Dang of Bank of America volunteers his time providing free lunches and carefree summers to Portland children

Name: Joe Dang
Company: Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Job: Business Banking Assistant Vice President

What He Does: Joe Dang (pictured passing out lunches at a local park) works as the Business Banking Assistant Vice President at Bank of America and is actively involved in Bank of America’s Community Volunteer program, where he serves as the liaison between the company and Portland Parks and Recreation.

Over the past four summers, Joe has coordinated and participated in volunteer shifts for Portland Parks’ Free Lunch & Play program, which helps address the lack of free and reduced-price school meals for children from low-income households when school is out for the summer. With nearly two-thirds of Portland children relying on these meals during the school year, Free Lunch & Play helps fill this gap so kids can spend the summer having fun, and not worrying about when and where they’ll find their next meal.

For Joe, helping with the Free Lunch & Play program is personal. Raised by a single father in the St. Johns neighborhood of North Portland, he was a beneficiary of the Portland Parks summer programs. He and his two younger brothers looked forward to the lunches before swimming the afternoon away at Pier Park pool.

“My favorite part is seeing the joy the Free Lunch & Play program brings to the children. I know personally of the comfort in knowing there’s going to be a meal – not only for yourself – but also for your siblings,” said Joe. “These are meals children might not be getting otherwise, especially during the summer months. This is the very reason I take pride in the partnership with Portland Parks. It allows me to give back to the community and city I grew up in.”

Why It’s Important: Bank of America has sponsored this program for six years, donating more than $200,000 to Portland Parks and Recreation, with much of that support earmarked for the Free Lunch & Play program. With this backing, the program serves more than 100,000 free, nutritious lunches each summer.

Portland Parks offers more than 1,800 free recreational activities including movies, concerts, sports, games and crafts as part of its Summer Free for All programming. These programs take place in 70 Portland-area neighborhood parks, as well as seven mobile playground sites in park-deficient neighborhoods.

Joe is able to leverage the resources Bank of America provides to support Portland Parks’ Free Lunch & Play program and many other deserving organizations. Through the Bank of America Community Volunteers, Joe can donate his time and direct funds to help groups he is passionate about. Bank of America offers him two hours of paid time off each week to volunteer at the charities of his choice, and any amount of money that he donates is matched by the bank, up to $5,000 annually. Additionally, if bank employees spend 50 hours volunteering with one organization, they can direct a small grant to it from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Last year, the foundation donated a total of $2.5 million in the Portland-Vancouver area.

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