Availa Bank

Availa Bank Senior Vice President and Head of Retail Banking David Zimmerman and Council Bluffs Market President Matthew Gronstal, stand inside the location at 117 Pearl St.

The holiday season can bear economic challenges for families in need.

Between preparing holiday gifts and meals, and budgeting for day-to-day costs, this season can be overwhelming for some families.

That’s why Availa Bank has sponsored the “It’s a Wonderful Christmas Giveaway” for the last four years.

To be eligible for the contest, families must be nominated from The Daily Nonpareil’s website by another person or family.

The giveaway puts nominated families in the running for three holiday packages that include a pre-lit Christmas tree, a gift card to a local grocery store and a VISA gift card, covering the cost of food, presents and other incidental holiday expenses.

The value of this package is over $500 per family, said Matt Gronstal, Council Bluffs market president for Availa Bank.

“We recognize that there are families that have had a run of bad luck or are just in need of a helping hand. We hope that we can help at least three families so that they can fully enjoy the holidays,” Gronstal said.

In the giveaway’s first year, Dave Zimmerman, senior vice president and head of retail banking, said the bank only gave one gift package away, but now, the bank supports and gives away three.

“The decision to pick three families is the most difficult task with this project. There are always countless families who are deserving. We utilize a committee of Availa Bank employees who review the nominations,” Gronstal said. “Then as a committee, we discuss the top ten most deserving families and then narrow that list down to three. It is always an extremely difficult decision.”

To nominate a family, go to NonpareilOnline.com/contests. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 25. Winners will be notified by phone on Dec. 2.

“We personally meet with all of the families as they come to Availa Bank to pick up their giveaway items. All of the families have been extremely appreciative of the Bank as well as the Nonpareil. They are typically overwhelmed with generosity,” Gronstal said. “They are also incredibly thankful to the person or persons who nominated them.”

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