It is sometime said we can change the world one act of kindness at a time.

With that spirit in mind, Arvest Bank associates throughout the Joplin region were on a mission to give back during the month of November, performing random acts of kindness in all 10 of the communities we serve. Paying it forward is about all people, from all walks of life, giving to someone else and making a positive difference.

Arvest has held a “Pay it Forward Day” for the past four years in our Joplin region, where we give each of our branches $100 and all branch team members go out and perform acts of kindness. Our associates have given in many different ways; paying off past due lunch accounts for kids in our schools, working with utility providers to pay a gas or electric bill for someone in need, covering the adoption fees at local animal shelters, or delivering care packages to senior centers and local emergency responders. Those small acts of kindness inspire the best in us, and our hope is that recipients or witnesses are also inspired to pay it forward.

This year, we wanted this well-known concept of paying it forward to reach beyond our Arvest teams, so we teamed up with a local radio station and news channel to invite community members to join us in the spirit of giving on Nov. 21. On that day, associates from all 17 of our branches across Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and Kansas were given the opportunity to live out our mission of “People helping people” in a big way.

We asked our communities to share what they would do with $100 to pay it forward in their community, and we received 86 responses from across our region. We took this opportunity to give in ways that our customers, our community members, our friends said they would give, and then we shared our stories – via Arvest’s Facebook page – of giving and thanked them for inspiring us. This was such an impactful and simple way to connect us all through this day of giving. We are still hearing from our communities on the blessing this day brought to so many.

The stories of joy, of giving, of offering the smallest gift of goodwill and the lasting impact it has on our associates alone is astounding, but the impact it has on those receiving is powerful. We look forward to continuing to give back and making this holiday season a little brighter through acts of kindness. We hope that you join Arvest Bank in the spirit of giving, as we pay it forward.