220,555 Pounds Collected in Winona

10DaysofGivingEventsFinal tallies put the 2014 “10 Days of Giving” at 220,555 pounds of food, the third highest total in the food drive’s 26-year history.

The total breaks down to $94,069 in cash and 32,417 pounds of food. The two years where more food was collected were 2013, when just over 280,000 pounds of food was collected, and 2009, when just over 250,000 pounds of food was collected. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. The 26-year total for pounds of food collected now stands at 2,597,782.

“We are thankful for the success of this year’s drive in supplying food for Winona Volunteer Services and helping to meet our goal that no one in Winona County goes hungry this winter,” said Jennifer Welch, who is co-chair of the food drive. “It means a lot to our employees to take part and help meet the needs of the food shelf and the people it serves.”

More than 30 area schools and child-care centers and more than 150 businesses participated in this year’s drive. See photos of the schools and a listing of this year’s participating businesses.

Money Ball is Back

MoneyballAVApple Valley students will once again have the opportunity to earn money making lay-ups, free throws and half-court shots during Merchants Bank’s Money Ball halftime shootout at Apple Valley High School basketball games this season.

Last year students earned $1,680 and Merchants Bank matched the $1,680 with a donation to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club. Brian Wester, of Merchants Bank in Apple Valley, said the format will be the same as last year. The first Money Ball  game is November 25.

“It’s a great way to support the students and the booster club. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for the crowd,” Wester said.

Students sign up before each game and are chosen in a random drawing to be the Money Ball half-time shooters at select home games. The student receives a $10 gift card for a made lay-up, a $25 gift card for a made free throw, and $100 in cash for a made half-court Money Ball shot. Last year, three students made a half-court shot. If the half-court shot isn’t made, the jackpot continues to grow each game until the shot is made.

10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs Announced

10DaysChairs

Mark Metzler and Jennifer Welch have been named co-chairs for this year’s “10 Days of Giving.”

The “10 Days of Giving” runs from December 1-10, with Merchants Bank employees helping the community collect food to benefit the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services and the Southeastern Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center in St. Charles.

“We hope the community will respond again to the great need,” Welch said. “We are amazed each year by how much people give to those who need our help.”

Last year, the “10 Days of Giving” set a record by collecting more than 280,000 pounds of food, putting the 25-year total at 2,377,227 pounds. Two pounds of food are calculated for each dollar brought in, although the reality shows that monetary donations often have a greater impact.

“Every year we are amazed at the generosity of the people in our area,” Metzler said.

In Winona in 2013 Winona Volunteer Services had 906 households using the food shelf each month, with another 93 households per month use the emergency food shelf. In total, an average of just over 37,255 pounds of food was distributed each month in 2013.

As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as schools and businesses around the area. For questions, please call Metzler at 494-0524 or Welch at 457-1108. The “10 Days of Giving” will officially kick off with a press conference at 10 a.m., December 1 at Merchants Bank in downtown Winona.

Help to Make the “10 Days of Giving” a Success

10DaysofGivingEvents

From December 1-10, the “10 Days of Giving” food drive and other events will be held at a number of Merchants Bank locations, including Winona, St. Charles, Onalaska, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls and Red Wing.

The “10 Days of Giving” started in Winona and is now entering its 26th year. To date 2,377,227 pounds of food have been collected through monetary donations and the donations of non-perishable food items to help make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry. Last year, a record of more than 280,000 pounds of food was collected for Winona Volunteer Services, where the need is still great:

  • In 2013, 23,140 individuals were served at the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services, and another 2,461 individuals were served with emergency food.
  • An average of 906 households were served each month.
  • An average of 93 households used the Emergency Food Shelf services each month in 2013. 
  • An average of 37,255 pounds of food was given out through food shelf programs monthly.

Opportunities to Give

Winona – You can drop off money or food at Merchants Bank in Winona, Goodview or Lakeside between December 1-10. You can mail a donation to Merchants Bank, 102 East Third Street, Winona, MN 55987, attn: “10 Days of Giving.” You can make a donation online by going directly to the Winona Volunteer Services website. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name. You can also bring donations to the Holiday Train held at 4 p.m., December 9, Amtrak Station.

St. Charles – St. Charles is holding its “10 Days of Giving” December 1-10 to benefit the Southeastern Minnesota Resource Center. Please bring cash or food donations to Merchants Bank in St. Charles.

Onalaska – Onalaska employees will again be hosting the La Crosse Rotary Lights Event December 2 at Riverside Park in La Crosse, WI. Please bring cash or food donations that night to the event. 

Cottage Grove – Cottage Grove will be holding its “10 Days of Giving” between December 1-10 to benefit the Friends in Need Food Shelf. You can bring cash donations or toiletry items to Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove. You can also bring donations to the Holiday Train held at 5:45 p.m., December 10, south of the Sieben Bridge, in front of the Youth Service Bureau.

Hastings – Hastings will be holding its “10 Days of Giving” between December 1-10 to benefit Hastings Family Service. Bring cash or food donations to Merchants Bank in Hastings. You can also donate at the Holiday Train stop at 8:30 p.m., December 9, at Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 E. Second Street.

Red Wing – Merchants Bank in Red Wing will be hosting a Change Collection, where they will collect the change you donate and then donate that money to benefit local people in need. It’s a great way to empty your pockets and change dishes to help others.

Cannon Falls – Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls will also be hosting a Change Collection during the holiday season at the Bank to benefit local people in need.

Spring Grove – Merchants Bank in Spring Grove will celebrate the “10 Days of Giving” by giving area residents an opportunity to purchase a bag of groceries supplied by Red’s IGA for people in need. Stop in the Bank for more details.

Thank You
We know this is a busy time of year and many organizations have a need. We hope that you will consider the “10 Days of Giving.” Thank you for your consideration.

$50,000 Pledge for Confluence Community Arts Center

Mark Willer

Mark Willer

Merchants Bank has pledged $50,000 in support of the new community arts center that is part of the proposed Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire.

“We believe that the Confluence Project and the new community arts center are important for our community, and as a community bank, we believe it’s our privilege to join our neighbors in our support,” said Merchants Bank – Eau Claire President Mark Willer. “We expect that the project will contribute significantly to both the cultural and economic development of Eau Claire and the entire Chippewa Valley. One of the cornerstones of the Merchants Bank philosophy is to support its customers and the communities it serves by donating volunteer time and making monetary contributions to important community projects.”

Merchants is a full-service bank and is a regional leader in mortgage and business lending. The Eau Claire location, just off London Road, opened in February of this year.

The Confluence Project is a proposed revitalization of property commonly referred to as the “Haymarket Site” at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The public-private partnership seeks to construct a community arts center, which is the centerpiece of the project. A privately developed commercial/retail complex that includes housing suitable for University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students also is part of the project.

The Eau Claire City Council has pledged $5 million in city funds toward development of the community arts center. The arts center project also seeks $25 million in state funding and $5 million from Eau Claire County. The remaining arts center construction costs are sought from donations and tax credits. The $26 million commercial/retail and student housing complex is being privately financed.

Other members of the Confluence Project public-private partnership are Haymarket Concepts LLC, composed of Market & Johnson Inc., Commonweal Development Corp. and Blugold Real Estate LLC, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, and UW-Eau Claire. For information about making a commitment to the Confluence Project, contact Wally Rogers, Confluence campaign director, at wallacegrant@msn.com or 715-225-8685.

Join us in September!

eNews - EventsBlog
Our staff invites you to join them at these great events throughout the Fall. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page for information on these events or pictures from other events you may have missed.
September 5: Caledonia Windshield Washing Fundraiser. Join Merchants Bank for a Window Washing Fundraiser to support Caledonia academics, fine arts and athletics! Merchants will donate $5 for every car window washed from 2-5 p.m. to the Caledonia School District. Visit the Merchants drive-thru for your FREE window washing and help support a great cause!
September 6: Mabel Steam Engine Days Parade, immediately following noon parade of engines and tractors on Main Street.
September 12: Spring Grove Windshield Washing Fundraiser. Join Merchants Bank for a Window Washing Fundraiser to support the Spring Grove Athletic Boosters! Merchants will donate $5 for every car window washed from 2-5 p.m. to the Boosters. Visit the Merchants drive-thru for your FREE window washing and help support a great cause!
September 17: Rushford and Lanesboro Community Appreciation, 5-7 p.m., Sylvan Park in Lanesboro. Merchants Bank staff from our Lanesboro and Rushford locations will be serving Fillmore County Cattlemen hamburgers and refreshments.
September 18-19: Applefest Open House, Merchants Bank La Crescent. Merchants Bank staff will be serving locally-grown apples and apple cider in the bank lobby during regular lobby hours. Stop by and say hi!
September 20-21: Triquest, Holmen, WI.
September 21: Applefest Parade, 1 p.m, La Crescent. Merchant Bank staff will be collecting food and cash donations during the parade. Please consider supporting the La Crescent Food Share Program with a donation.
September 27: New Leash on Life 5K Dog Run/3K Fun Walk, 8:30 a.m., Silver Lake Pool in Rochester.
September 30: Retirement Planning: A Whole New Adventure, 5-7:30 p.m., Merchants Bank-Downtown Winona. Stop in for vendor booths and breakout sessions on a variety of topics. Appetizers and refreshments will be served.

 

John Diersen Joins Board of Directors

DiersenJohnWell-known local Dairy Farmer John Diersen has been appointed to the Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove Advisory Board of Directors, according to Matt Schuldt, President for Merchants Bank in Caledonia and Spring Grove.

“John is a valuable addition to the Board. He brings us a lot of knowledge about farming and the ag community, especially the dairy industry,” Schuldt said. “Plus, he’s about improving the community. He and his family give a lot back and are a big part of our area.”

Diersen is looking forward to giving his time and knowledge to the Board.

“I want to be able to contribute to the Board, not just be someone sitting in a chair,” Diersen said. “I’ll be able to provide input as far as farming, helping to pinpoint what to look for when it comes to the business of agriculture.”

Diersen, 62, farms with his wife, Karyl, and two sons, Joshua and Jayson, at Minnigan Hills Farm outside of Caledonia. The farm has been in the family since John’s grandfather. Currently, they farm 500 acres and milk between 135 and 150 Holsteins. Diersen is involved in the embryo business with three other local dairymen in Four Cal Genetics. The Diersens have also been involved in the American Dairy Association for many years and take a lead role in the Houston County Fair. John is a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church and has served on the board of directors at the church.