Merchants Bank kicked off the 32nd annual 10 Days of Giving food drive on Tuesday morning. The drive runs December 1-10 and benefits the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS). Through the first 31 years, more than 3.7 million pounds of food have been collected. Chair Jennifer Welch will be leading 10 Days efforts this year.
At the kick-off press conference were Merchants Bank Winona and Southern Regional President Andrew Guzzo, WVS Executive Director Sandra Burke, Winona Mayor Mark Peterson and other participants. The drive was kicked off with a ceremonial first donation from WA Group.
“Despite the challenges of this year we are honored to safely coordinate this campaign and are so grateful to the Winona community for their generosity. It is so inspiring to see the involvement from schools and local businesses, as well as all of our community members, even during these difficult times,” said Guzzo.
Last year, the 10 Days of Giving campaign collected 236,495 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, and with this year’s challenges, we ask for primarily monetary donations.
“As a food shelf, our monetary dollars go farther at the grocery story than an individual’s,” said Burke. “What that means is, Winona Volunteer Services can purchase $50.00 worth of food with just $15.00 through resources such as the region’s food bank. Having sufficient funds helps us make sure we have the variety that the community needs.”
Burke said there continues to be a need in the area. Through the end of 2019, an average of 755 households were registered for the supplemental food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services and more than 3,000 individuals were served. Another 972 people were helped at the Emergency food shelf. Last year WVS distributed 492,290 pounds of food. Additionally, 393 elementary students received healthy weekend snacks during the 2018-19 school year.
The drive has also received a $10,000 donation from Steve Craney, in memory of his late wife, Gina Craney.
For questions, please call Mary Gordon at (507) 494-0573. 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: www.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 3.7 million 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.