Merchants Bank kicked off the 30th Annual 10 Days of Giving food drive on Friday morning. The drive will run December 1-10 and benefit the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS). Through the first 30 years, more than 3,000,000 pounds of food has been collected.
Co-chairs Dawn Stenberg and Jennifer Welch will be leading 10 Days efforts this year. Joining them at the kick-off press conference were Merchants Bank Winona and Southern Regions President Andrew Guzzo, WVS Executive Director Sandra Burke and the staff from WVS, Winona Mayor Mark Peterson and other participants.
“Over the last 30 years, the 10 Days of Giving has proved to be a true community effort. We’re happy to see so many schools and local businesses involved, in addition to individual community supporters,” said Guzzo.
Last year, the “10 Days of Giving” collected 207,898 pounds of food. Two pounds of food are calculated for each dollar brought in. One area that keeps improving is the amount of monetary donations that are brought in to support the drive.
“We’re so appreciative of all donations, but our buying power as a food shelf can truly make monetary donations go much farther,” said Burke. “For example, Winona Volunteer Services can purchase about $50.00 worth of food with just $15.00.”
Burke said there continues to be a need in the area. Through the end of 2017, Winona Volunteer Services served more than 3,168 individuals were served. Another 1,504 people were helped at the Emergency food shelf. Last year WVS distributed 538,081 pounds of food. Additionally, 388 elementary students received healthy weekend snacks during the school year.
Joining Guzzo, Burke and Peterson giving the ceremonial “First Gift of Food” were Evan Galewski, a second student at Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School; Siena Moore, a first grade student at Jefferson Elementary School; and Lucy Puetz, a first grade student at St. Stanislaus Elementary School.
The community is invited to several special 10 Days of Giving events that will be held this weekend:
- Saturday, December 1: 10% of all sales at Island City Brewing benefit the food drive.
- Saturday, December 1: 10% of all sales at Beno’s Deli benefit the food drive. Plus, bring in two cans of food and receive $1.00 off the purchase of a sandwich.
- Saturday, December 1: View the Winter Wonderland Department 56 Snow Village from 10:00 – 2:00 p.m. at 64 East 4th Street in Winona. Admission is the gift of food or a monetary donation.
- Sunday, December 2: Enjoy Winona State University’s annual Holiday Concert for the Hungary beginning at 2:00 p.m. at 450 Johnson Street. Admission is the gift of food or a monetary donation.
As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as at schools and participating businesses around the area. For questions, please call Welch at 457-1108 or Stenberg at 457-1109. Monetary donations can be made out to 10 Days of Giving and can be mailed to, or dropped off at Merchants Bank, 102 E. 3rd Street, Winona, MN 55987. If you would like to make a donation online, visit the Winona Volunteer Services website: winonavs.org. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name.
The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank and Winona Volunteer Services to make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry each winter. Since 1989, the drive has collected more than 3,000,000 pounds of food and helped thousands of people in Winona County. In addition to the Winona drive, other Merchants Bank locations partner with their respective local food shelf in a similar effort. To learn more about the 10 Days of Giving in your area, visit www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving.