“10 Days of Giving” is at 114,792 Pounds of Food

10 Days of Giving

Through the middle of the day on Tuesday, Merchants Bank had collected 114,792 pounds of food for the “10 Days of Giving.”

The totals include $52,773 in cash and 9,246 pounds of food. The total to date is behind last year’s record pace of 160,300 pounds of food, which was fueled by several significant anonymous monetary gifts. The number is ahead of the pace of two years ago of 98,106 pounds of food. For purposes of the calculation, each dollar counts for two pounds of food.

“Time and time again, I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in the Winona area. It’s unmatched,” said Jen Welch, who is co-chair of this year’s food drive. “We are especially gratified by the people who are first-time contributors. It is good to see how many people believe this food drive is important to this area.”

Last year, more than 280,000 pounds of food was collected and 195,438 pounds of food was collected in 2012. The 25-year total is 2,377,027 pounds of food.

There is still time to give. Merchants Bank employees and other volunteers will collect food barrels and cash cans at area schools, day-cares and businesses Thursday and Friday. The food and money collected from the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop Tuesday in Winona has not yet been included in the totals.

Checks may be made payable to “10 Days of Giving.” Checks not deposited at a Merchants Bank office may be mailed to Merchants Bank, P.O. Box 248, Winona MN 55987; or Winona Volunteer Services, 402 East Second Street in Winona.

Gifts of food may be dropped at any Merchants Bank location in Winona, Goodview or St. Charles. In addition to more than 30 area schools and child-care centers participating in this year’s Drive, there are more than 150 business collection sites throughout Winona County. View a listing of this year’s special events and participating businesses here.

10 Days of Giving: Participating Businesses in the Winona Area

10 Days of Giving

To donate to this year’s 10 Days of Giving, place the non-perishable food items in a bag under the lobby Christmas tree at any Winona Merchants Bank location, or in the collection barrel at any Winona Area School or participating business. Monetary donations also encouraged.

2014 Participating Businesses:

A&W Restaurants
Ace Hardware
Acoustic Café
Acuity Brands
Adventure Cycle and Ski
Alliant Castings
Alterra Sterling House
American Legion Post 9
Baker Shoes
Behrens Inc
Benchmark Electronics Inc
Beno’s Cheese & Deli
Blooming Grounds
Bluff Country Co-op
Bub’s Brewing Co.
Cha Chis Mexican Grill
City of Goodview
City of Winona – City Hall
City of Winona – Library/Friendship Center
Coldwell Banker Skeels/Moore & Associates
Construction Ventures Inc/Composite Products
Cross Fit Warrior Risen
Cytec Fiberite
Dahl Automotive Winona Inc
Dahl Buick Pontiac GMC
Dairy Queen
DCM Tech
Diocese of Winona
Edge Church
Edina Realty, Inc.
Edward Jones
Engrav’s Decorating Center
Ferrara Candy Company
Fastenal Company
Fawcett-Junker Funeral Homes
Goodson Manufacturing Inc.
Green Mill Restaurant & Bar
Gunderson Lutheran Eye Clinic
Hal Leonard Publishing
Harley Davidson Shop of Winona
Hiawatha Broadband Communications
Key Real Estate
Knitcraft Corporation
Ledebuhr Meats
Merchants Bank – Winona Downtown
Merchants Bank – Goodview
Merchants Bank – Lakeside
Mc Donald’s “Amberwin, LLC”
Midtown Foods
Miller Ingenuity
Minnesota State Southeast Technical College
Mississippi Welders Supply Co.
Modern Ready Mix
Mugby Junction
Peerless Chain
Perfect Fit Plus Size Consignment LLC
Perkins Restaurant
Pet Medical Center
Pieces of the Past
Plaza Hotel
Plumbers Mechanical Group, LLC
Quality Vac & Sew
River Hills Dental
Riverside Electronics
Rogan’s Shoes
RTP Company
Saint Mary’s Press
Snap Fitness
Sole Sport
St. Mary’s University
Steak Shop Catering
Sugar Loaf Ford
Sugar Loaf Senior Living
Taco Johns
Technigraph Corporation
The Kensington
Thern, Inc
Watkins, Inc
Watkins, Inc-Distribution Center
Watlow Controls
We-no-nah Canoe
WinCraft Inc
Winona Agency
Winona County
Winona Daily News
Winona Elks Lodge
Winona Family YMCA
Winona Health
Winona Health-Senior Living at Watkins
Winona ORC
Winona Radio
Winona State University/Krysko Commons
Winona State University-Bookstore
Winona Workforce Center
Xcel Energy

Whipped Sweet Potatoes


3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1″ pieces
4 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut in 1″ pieces
2 chicken bouillon cubes
6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
salt, to taste

Place sweet potatoes, carrots & bouillon cubes in a large, heavy pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender. Drain, reserving 6 Tbsp of cooking liquid, and place in a bowl. Mash the vegetables with the reserved cooking liquid. Add remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or reheat, covered, in a 350° oven for 15-20 minutes.


Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Pumpkin Pie Dessert



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter

Mix crust ingredients well and press into 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


  • 2 (15 oz.) cans pumpkin
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger

Mix well and pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs Announced


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.

Use Your Merchants Debit or Credit Card to Swipe Out Hunger


By swiping your Merchants Bank debit or credit card you can help maximize the amount of money Merchants Bank gives this year to local food shelves.

What is Swipe Out Hunger?
Swipe Out Hunger is a Merchants Bank initiative to support local food shelves in our communities. Food shelves are nominated by our branches and receive a donation based on the number of votes cast through our Facebook page. The total possible donation will increase by 5 cents each time our customers swipe their Merchants Bank debit or credit cards between November 28 and December 10, to a maximum of $10,000.

This year Merchants goal is to:

  • Give $5,000 to the top vote getting food shelf.
  • Give a percentage of another $5,000 to all other nominated shelves based on their percentage of votes.

In order to achieve both goals, we need to reach 200,000 swipes (purchases made with a Merchants Bank debit or credit card) by our customers between November 28 and December 10.

How can you help?
Between November 28-December 10:

  • Use your debit or credit card to increase the total amount of money Merchants donates.
  • Like the Merchants Bank Facebook page and cast your vote for your favorite local food shelf. You may vote up to three times per day.

Which food shelves are participating?
This year’s nominated food shelves include:

Apple Valley and Rosemount – The Open Door
Caledonia and Spring Grove – SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf
Cannon Falls – Cannon Falls Food Shelf
Cottage Grove – Friends in Need Food Shelf
Hampton – Randolph Community Food Shelf
Hastings – Hastings Family Services
La Crescent – La Crescent Area Food Shelf
Lakeville – 360 Communities
Lanesboro – SEMCAC in Preston
Onalaska – The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse
Red Wing – Red Wing Area Food Shelf
Rushford – SEMCAC in Rushford
St. Charles – Southeast Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center
Winona – Winona Volunteer Services

Additional details regarding Swipe Out Hunger can be found at our website.

$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.