Beacon House Gets New Phone System

ECPhoneDonation2 copyWhen Merchants Bank acquired the former Alliance Bank location in Eau Claire on February 14, it meant a new phone system for the bank that matched what Merchants had in place at all of its locations. That was good fortune for Beacon House, part of the Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network. Merchants Bank – Eau Claire President Mark Willer worked with Kelly Christianson, Executive Director of Eau Claire Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Pam Kozuch, owner of Telephone Systems Incorporated (TSI), to make sure the phones and components were installed at Beacon House. Merchants supplied the previously used components and TSI provided the installation. Beacon House serves families and pregnant women who are temporarily homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Students and Apple Valley Booster Receive a Total of $3,360 from Merchants Bank Money Ball

Apple Valley students who made 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 earned $1,680. Because of their efforts, Merchants Bank will match the $1,680 earned and donate that money to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club.

“It was great fun. The students and fans alike really enjoyed the halftime shootout. We’re happy to do it and happy to match that sum to the boosters who are supporting these great high school athletes,” said Merchants Bank’s Twin Cities Regional President Lawrence Stovern.

Students signed up before each game and were chosen in a random drawing to be the Money Ball shooters at both boys’ and girls’ games. The students reached the total by receiving a $10 gift card each time a participating student made a lay-up, a $25 gift card was given each time a participating student made a free throw, and $100 in cash was given each time a student made a half-court shot. The half-court shot was a progressive jackpot and there were three big winners during the year – one for $500 by Ja’Quan Robinson, another for $300 by Mohamed Kone and $100 to another Apple Valley student.

“The best part is the kids were actually the ones who raised the money for the boosters by making the shots,” Stovern said.

Apple Valley High School Booster Club donation from Merchants Bank

Pictured from left to right: Debbie Jones (Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club), Brian Wester (Merchants Bank), Tiffany Elliot (Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club), Dale Trobroxen (Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club), Lawrence “Skip” Stovern (Merchants Bank)

“10 Days of Giving” Record-Breaking Year Ends by Topping 280,000 Pounds

10DaysLogoWINONA, Minn. – Final tallies put the 25th Anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” at 280,082 pounds of food.

The total breaks down to $127,626 in cash and 24,830 pounds of food. The previous record was set in 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.

“This year’s drive was successful because we came together as a community to help people, to make sure that no one in Winona County goes hungry,” said Mark Metzler, who is co-chair of the food drive. “Most of all, we are moved by the generosity of our neighbors who have made the effort to make a difference for someone else.”

This is the 25th anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” and the 40th anniversary of Winona Volunteer Services, which benefits from the Winona contributions. The 25-year total for pounds of food collected now stands at 2,393,767.

“At Merchants Bank, we are thankful that we have the ability and employee dedication to help facilitate this drive. It really is a privilege,” Metzler said.

More than 30 area schools and child-care centers and more than 150 businesses participated in this year’s drive. For a listing of this year’s participating businesses, click here.

Area Food Shelves Receive Money from “Swipe Out Hunger”

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank’s “Swipe Out Hunger” Facebook giveaway has concluded with more than 1,700 votes cast to benefit area food shelves.

Merchants Bank donated 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card was used between November 29 and December 15, for a total of $10,000 to be split among the food shelves. Votes were placed on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page.

Merchants Bank representatives will be presenting food shelf representatives with checks within the coming week.

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses). There were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. The “Swipe Out Hunger” awards break down as follows:

  • 360 Communities (Lakeville): $270
  • Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls): $540
  • Channel One Rochester (Rochester): $569
  • Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount): $352
  • Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove): $387
  • Hastings Family Services (Hastings): $751
  • La Crescent Food Share (La Crescent): $2,383
  • Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton): $264
  • Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing): $250
  • SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove): $387
  • SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro): $250
  • SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford): $370
  • Southeastern Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles): $250
  • The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska): $2,066
  • Winona Volunteer Services (Winona, Lakeside, Goodview): $1,238
 A minimum of $250 was given to nominated food shelves. Total amount given away was $10,327.

Merchants Bank Looks to “Swipe Out Hunger” for Area Food Shelves

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank will be donating 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card is used between November 29 and December 15, up to a total of $10,000, for area food shelves during “Swipe Out Hunger,” the Bank’s second annual Facebook Giveaway.

The “Swipe Out Hunger” giveaway will work like this:

  • Supporters of area food shelves will be able to vote once per day between November 29 and December 15 for their chosen organization
  • At the end of the giveaway, nominated food shelves will receive a percentage of total amount of money raised based on the percentage of votes that organization receives on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (Bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses), and there were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. Participating this year are: SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove), Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove), La Crescent Food Shelf (La Crescent), The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska), Channel One Rochester (Rochester), Southeast Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles), Winona Volunteer Services (Winona), 360 Communities (Lakeville), Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount), Hastings Family Services (Hastings), the Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls), SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro), SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford), the Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton) and the Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing).

25 years, 250 Days of Giving

10DaysCoChairsWritten by Terry Hawkings and Mark Metzler

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Merchants Bank’s “10 Days of Giving,” we thank you for your generosity in helping those in need. We’ve been successful in providing more than 2.1 million pounds of food over the first 24 years of the “10 Days of Giving.” The accomplishments are great, but the need remains strong.

Take a look at these numbers:

  • In 2012, 4,374 different people were helped by the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.
  • On average, 2,111 people and 941 households were served each month at Winona Volunteer Services
  • On average, 257 individuals and 111 households were served with emergency food from Winona Volunteer Services
  • On average 35,712 pounds of food were distributed each month
  • Of the people who received food, 36 percent were employed, 47 percent receive government benefits, and 9 percent have no income

Winona Volunteer Services, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, has incredible buying power. Each dollar given to Winona Volunteer Services can buy a great deal of food. For instance, in July of 2013, 35,783 pounds of food was purchased from the Channel One Food Bank for distribution. The average cost of each pound distributed was $1.04. Given this buying power, we ask that you seriously consider giving a monetary donation to this year’s “10 Days of Giving” food drive. It will have more of an impact for more people.

So, what can you do to help make sure that no one in Winona County goes hungry? We ask that you join by giving what you can.

You can bring your monetary donation or donation of non-perishable food items to any Merchants Bank location.

You may also feel free to send a check to Merchants Bank, ATTN: 10 Days of Giving, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987. Merchants Bank is a Member FDIC.

You may also donate directly on the Winona Volunteer Services website at http://www.winonavs.org.

At this time of year it is easier to remember people are less fortunate than us, but hunger remains throughout the year, and it is important to remember that contributions from the “10 Days of Giving” help to meet that need for a significant part of the year.

Thank you again for your past support. We look forward to your contributions in making the 25th anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” memorable for our community, and more importantly, for those who need our help.

Terry Hawkings and Mark Metzler are co-chairs of the 2013 10 Days of Giving campaign.

Help Us “Swipe Out Hunger” During the 10 Days of Giving and Beyond

 Swipe10Days

For 25 years, Merchants Bank has officially been helping those who have needed extra food through the “10 Days of Giving.” And in those 25 years, Merchants has always looked for ways to expand its reach in helping others.

This year, in addition to the “10 Days of Giving,” Merchants is helping nominated local food shelves through “Swipe Out Hunger,” where Merchants is donating a nickel to those nominated food shelves, up to a total of $10,000, every time a Merchants Bank debit card or credit card is used.

 The “10 Days of Giving”

The “10 Days of Giving” runs from December 1-10. It is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Winona and 24th anniversary in St. Charles, where 2,113,685 pounds of food of food have been collected. Other locations are running events in connection with the “10 Days of Giving,” especially our banks in Hastings and Cottage Grove. Other locations are also running information.

You can support the “10 Days of Giving” by making monetary donations or donations of non-perishable food items at participating Merchants Bank locations between December 1-10.

“Swipe Out Hunger”

This year, we asked that our locations all nominate a local food shelf to receive a part of the proceeds from “Swipe Out Hunger,” our second Facebook giveaway. Each nominated food shelf has the opportunity to receive money from Merchants Bank between November 29 and December 15. The nominated food shelves in Winona, St. Charles, Cottage Grove and Hastings also receive the benefits for the “10 Days of Giving.”

Supporters of the nominated food shelf can vote once a day at the Merchants Bank Facebook page. At the end of the giveaway, participating food shelves will receive a percentage of the total amount of money donated to “Swipe Out Hunger” based on the percentage of votes the organization received on Facebook.

Here are our bank locations and the nominated food shelves:

Apple Valley and Rosemount – Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center

Caledonia and Spring Grove – SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf

Cannon Falls – Cannon Falls Food Shelf

Cottage Grove – Friends in Need Food Shelf

Hastings – Hastings Family Services

La Crescent – La Crescent Food Shelf (Prince of Peace Church)

Lakeville – 360 Communities

Lanesboro – SEMCAC in Preston

Onalaska – The Hunger Task Force

Red Wing – Red Wing Area Food Shelf

Rochester – Channel 1 Rochester

Rushford – SEMCAC in Rushford

St. Charles – Southeast Minnesota Education & Resource Center

Winona – Winona Volunteer Services

Time frame: Nov. 29-Dec. 15, 2013

Participants: Nominated Food Shelves in markets served by Merchants Bank

Voting/Program Rules: After accessing the “Swipe Out Hunger” voting app through Merchants Bank’s Facebook page. You may cast one initial vote for your favorite food shelf, then return for another single vote each day during the contest period, midnight November 29, 2013 through midnight December 15, 2013. Votes will be tallied at the end of the contest and awards will be based on the percentage of votes received. NO customer relationship necessary to vote.  On December 18, winners will be announced on Facebook and will also be notified by email.

Awards: Checks will be awarded as soon as possible after final votes are tallied. Money distributed will be based on the percentage of votes an organization receives, up to a total of $10,000.

 Please Give Generously

Whether or not you decide to participate in the “10 Days of Giving” by giving a monetary donation or a non-perishable food item, or support “Swipe Out Hunger” through using your debit or credit card, we do ask that you consider giving this holiday season to those in need.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse Area Receives $470 in Merchants Bank’s 10 for 10 Celebration

10 for 10 Boys & Girls ClubThe Boys and Girls Club of the Greater La Crosse Area was the August recipient of Merchants Bank in Onalaska’s 10 for 10 program, receiving $470 for contributions made in August.

The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater La Crosse is to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

“It is a great organization, and we are proud to help,” said Steve Christiansen, President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska.

The 10 for 10 celebration features a different area nonprofit each month. Merchants grants the nonprofit $10 a day for each day of the month and matches up to another $10 a day that the nonprofit receives in donations over the month. Merchants granted $300 for August and matched another $85 dropped off at the Bank for the benefit of the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater La Crosse Area.

The September nonprofit featured is the Great Rivers United Way.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota Receives $426 in Merchants Bank’s 10 for 10 Celebration

10 for 10 Ronald McDonald House

Pictured are Steve Christiansen, Merchants Bank, Kristina Schoh of Ronald McDonald House, and Shawn Sackman of Merchants Bank.

ONALASKA, WIS. – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota was the July recipient of Merchants Bank in Onalaska’s 10 for 10 program, receiving a check for $426 for contributions made in July.

The organization directly improves the health and well-being of children by providing them a bridge to accessible health care.

“It’s great to see the work that Ronald McDonald House of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota does in this area and how it touches the lives of people that we all know throughout the region,” said Steve Christiansen, President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska.

The 10 for 10 celebration features a different area nonprofit each month. Merchants grants the nonprofit $10 a day for each day of the month and matches up to another $10 a day that the nonprofit receives in donations over the month. Merchants granted $300 for June and matched another $63 dropped off at the Bank for the benefit of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota.

The August nonprofit featured is the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater La Crosse Area.

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” Receives $396 in Merchants Bank’s 10 for 10 Celebration

ONALASKA, WIS. – “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” was the June recipient of Merchants Bank in Onalaska’s 10 for 10 program, receiving a check of $396 for contributions made in June.

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” is a collaborative effort of the YWCA and the Carilee Fund at Gundersen Lutheran.

“It’s a great cause, and we enjoyed raising funds for this program, as well as raising awareness for the July 5 event,” said Steve Christiansen, President of Merchants Bank in Onalaska. Christiansen and several other team members from Merchants Bank took part in this year’s walk.

The 10 for 10 celebration features a different area nonprofit each month. Merchants grants the nonprofit $10 a day for each day of the month and matches up to another $10 a day that the nonprofit receives in donations over the month. Merchants granted $300 for June and matched another $48 dropped off at the Bank for the benefit of “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”

“Anything we can do to raise awareness of domestic violence is well worth our time. We are happy to help in any way we can,” Christiansen said.

The July nonprofit featured is the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southeastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

Read about this and other news by visiting our website.