10 Days of Giving Collects 272,162 Pounds for 2021

The final total for the 10 Days of Giving food drive through the end of the day on Friday, December 17 was 272,162 pounds of food. This is the second highest total in campaign history, after the 25th anniversary of the campaign that collected over 280,000 pounds. The 10 Days of Giving supports the food shelf programs at Winona Volunteer Services.
 
“The Winona area community never fails to impress us with its generosity. We are so appreciative of your support in our endeavor to ensure no one in Winona County goes hungry this winter. Because of this community working together, we’ve been able to donate over 4 million pounds of food throughout the 33-year history of the campaign. That’s something this community can be very proud of, and it’s an honor to coordinate the effort in support of Winona Volunteer Services food shelf program clients,” said Merchants Bank Winona and Southern Regions President Andrew Guzzo.
 
This year’s total breaks down to $126,578 in cash and 19,006 pounds of food. For the purposes of calculating the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. Last year’s total was 260,211 pounds. The total for 33 years now stands at 4,286,853 pounds. 
 
“Seeing the community come together again to show its support for friends and neighbors really warms your heart,” said Co-Chair Jennifer Welch. “It was great to see people come out for events like Pack the Bus to Drive Out Hunger and Apps & Taps.” This was Welch’s eighth year chairing the drive, and she’ll be turning over the reins to Co-Chair Dave Pierret and a new co-chair next year. We are grateful for Welch’s leadership over the past eight years.
 
“Once again we are so moved by our community’s generosity and appreciate everyone who supported this worthy cause. This campaign continues to demonstrate that when we work together, we can make a difference. We are fortunate to have such a warm, caring community,” said Co-Chair Dave Pierret.
 
Merchants collected monetary and food donations at its branches as well as at participating schools, businesses and organizations around the area (view a full list at https://www.merchantsbank.com/10dayspartners).
 
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 4 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.

Jennifer Welch, Dave Pierret Named 10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs

Dave Pierret and Jennifer Welch, 10 Days of Giving Co-Chairs

Jennifer Welch and Dave Pierret have been named Co-Chairs for Merchants Bank’s 2021 10 Days of Giving food drive, which runs December 1-10. The effort, which benefits food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS), will be celebrating its 33rd year. To date, more than 4 million pounds of food have been collected. Last year’s campaign raised 260,211 pounds of food for WVS.

“We’re very excited to once again coordinate this campaign that has been part of the community for so many years,” said Regional President Andrew Guzzo. “We’re so grateful for all the positive support from our friends and neighbors and look forward to safely seeing everyone again this year.”

This year there will still be a variety of special events, including a Pack the Bus to Drive Out Hunger event on Saturday, December 4 in the Merchants Bank – Downtown parking lot and the return of our Apps & Taps event at Port 507 on Sunday, December 5.  

“It’s always inspiring to be part of this campaign and the support it brings to those who need it,” Welch said. “For over 30 years this community has worked together to ensure that no one in Winona County goes hungry during the winter months – that’s something special.” Welch is a Personal Banker and this is her eighth year leading the coordination of the campaign.

There continues to be a need in the area. In 2020, Winona Volunteer Services helped over 3,000 individuals through their food shelf or emergency food services.

“I am looking forward to all of the events we have planned,” Pierret said. “These are great opportunities for the community to come together to have some fun as well as support those in need.” Pierret is a Commercial Banker and it is his first year as a co-chair.

Again this year, monetary donations will be the safest and most efficient way to support WVS. Monetary donations can be made out to 10 Days of Giving and 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: http://www.winonavs.org. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name. For questions, please call Jennifer Welch at (507) 457-1108.

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 4 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.

Merchants Bank’s 10 Days of Giving Food Drive Kicks Off 32nd Year

Andrew Guzzo, Merchants Bank Regional President presents the ceremonial first donation on behalf of WA Group to Sandra Burke, Winona Volunteer Services Executive Director with Mayor Mark Peterson.

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.

“10 Days of Giving” Food Drive Reports 75,526 Pounds of Food Collected

10daysofgivingblog

Through Tuesday, Merchants Bank’s 29th annual “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive was at 75,526 pounds of food collected to benefit the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services (WVS).

The number of pounds of food collected included $37,214 in cash and 1,108  pounds of food. Included in the amount was a $10,000 anonymous donation. Through the same time last year, 97,036 pounds of food had been collected. Two pounds of food are counted for each dollar collected. WVS Executive Director Sandra Burke pointed out at the food drive’s opening news conference that WVS can purchase $3 to $3.50 of food for each dollar it receives.

“Despite the warm weather early in the drive, people are in the holiday giving mood,” said Jennifer Welch of Merchants Bank, one of this year’s co-chairs. “We are thankful for all of their donations.”

Last year, 206,050 pounds of food was collected. The drive started this year with 3,045,465 pounds collected through its first 28 years. More events are scheduled throughout the week, including the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, which is scheduled to be at the Winona Amtrak Station at 4 p.m. Friday. Merchants Bank will be serving refreshments during the stop. The popular Winter Wonderland Department 56 Snow Village is open to 4-7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 64 E. 4th Street.

“If you haven’t been to the Snow Village, it is one of those displays you don’t want to miss,” Welch said. “The Holiday Train is also great entertainment for the whole family.”

Merchants will be collecting nonperishable food items at its locations as well as at schools and participating businesses around the area. A list of participating schools and businesses is at www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving. 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, you can go directly to the Winona Volunteer Services website: http://www.winonavs.org. Indicate “10 Days of Giving” after entering your name.

Merchants Bank Money Ball in Rushford is Back for 6 More Games in 2017-2018

MoneyballBlog

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball will be coming back for a fourth year in 2017-2018 with three boys’and three girls’ basketball games, according to Kari Johnson of Merchants Bank in Rushford.

Last year students received $1,180 in Money Ball payouts and the Rushford-Peterson Booster Club also received a matching payout of $1,180. That brings the total payout to $4,840 over the first three years of Merchants Bank’s Money Ball, with students and the booster club each receiving $2,420.

“The crowd really gets into pulling for the students, and it’s great that the booster club can benefit.” Johnson said. “It’s really a win for everyone.”

Student halftime participants are broken into two groups –5th grade and younger and 6th grade and older. Participants have to register and are drawn randomly. Three participants, 5th grade and under, have 30 seconds to make shots, earning $5 for a made lay-up, $10 for a free throw, and $25 for a 3-pointer. Another three participants, 6th grade and over, also have 30 seconds, earning $10 for a made free throw, $25 for a 3-pointer and $100 for a half-court shot.

This year, the home games are:

Boys’ Games:

  • 12/7 vs. Spring Grove
  • 1/23 vs. St. Charles
  • 2/19 vs. La Crescent

Girls’ Games:

  • 12/5 vs. Caledonia
  • 1/2   vs. Lanesboro
  • 1/25 vs. Winona Cotter

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Rushford, Lanesboro, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Merchants Bank was founded in 1875. All banks are FDIC members. Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, the company’s leasing arm, is based in the Twin Cities.

No customer relationship is necessary to enter or win. Merchants Bank employees and family members are not eligible to enter or win.

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball in Apple Valley is Back for its Fifth Year with 12 Games in 2017-2018

MoneyballBlog

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball is back for its fifth year, with Apple Valley students having the opportunity to participate in the halftime event 12 times during the Apple Valley boys’varsity basketball season, according to Brian Wester, who coordinates Money Ball for Merchants Bank.

Last year, Apple Valley School District students won $2,670, which Merchants matched and gave the Apple Valley Basketball Club another check for $2,670. To date, Merchants has distributed more than $15,000 to the students and the booster club.

“It’s always fun for the students and for the fans,” Wester said. “Plus, we’re happy the booster club can benefit from our efforts.”

Apple Valley School District students can sign up before each game and then two students are chosen at random to participate. Each student gets one minute to make a lay-up, free throw and then a half-court shot. The student wins $10 Chipotle gift card for a made lay-up, a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card for a made free throw and $100 or more for a made half-court shot. If the half-court shot isn’t made, the money rolls over and is added to the next home game.

The full schedule for the year is as follows:

  • Dec. 5   Robbinsdale Armstrong
  • Dec. 7  Minnehaha Academy – ESPN game
  • Dec. 15   Saint Thomas Academy
  • Jan. 9   Lakeville North
  • Jan. 23  Lakeville South
  • Jan. 26  Farmington
  • Jan. 30 Eagan
  • Feb. 5  Burnsville
  • Feb. 9  Shakopee
  • Feb. 16  Rosemount
  • Feb. 20  Prior Lake
  • March 2  Eastview

Merchants Bank Twin Cities locations include Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. In total there are 21 Merchants Bank community banking locations in Southeastern Minnesota and West-Central Wisconsin, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton.  Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

No customer relationship is necessary to enter or win. Merchants Bank employees and family members are not eligible to enter or win.

Meet the Winners of Merchants Bank’s Money Ball in Cannon Falls

Jenny Holz from Merchants Bank pictured with winners Avery Rustad (left) and Ashlyn Sjoquist (right).

During the Cannon Falls and Kasson-Mantorville Girl’s basketball game Friday, January 20, two students claimed prizes for making shots during Merchants Bank’s Money Ball, according to Jenny Holz, who is coordinating Money Ball for Merchants Bank.

Avery Rustad, a 4th grader, made a lay-up and free throw and earned $15. Ashlyn Sjoquist, an 8th grader, made a free throw and a 3-pointer to earn $35.

“It was a lot of fun, and we were happy that Avery and Ashlyn were such good shots,” Holz said. “I hope we have a student make the half-court shot next time.”

To be eligible, students sign up before halftime of the varsity game. Two contestants are then chosen randomly, one from 1st-5th grade and another from 6th-12th grade. Each contestant has a minute to make shots. The 1st-5th grader wins $5 for a made lay-up, $10 for made free throw, and then if both shots have been made, the student has one chance to win $25 for a made 3-pointer. If a 3-pointer isn’t made, the money rolls over to the next game. The 6th-12th grader wins $10 for a made free throw, $25 for a 3-pointer, and if both shots have been made, the student has one chance to win $100 for a half-court shot. If the half-courter isn’t made, the money rolls over to the next game.

The next chance for students to take part in Money Ball in Cannon Falls is the Boy’s game Feb. 3 against Kenyon-Wanamingo. There will also be a chance for students to take part in the Girl’s game Feb. 10 against Goodhue.

Money Ball is Back for its Fourth Year in Apple Valley

MoneyballAV

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball is back for its fourth year, with Apple Valley students having the opportunity to participate in the halftime event 11 times during the Apple Valley boys’ varsity basketball season, according to Brian Wester, who coordinates Money Ball for Merchants Bank.

Apple Valley School District students can sign up before each game and then two students are chosen at random to participate. Each student gets one minute to make a lay-up, free throw and then a half-court shot. The student wins a $10 Chipotle gift card for a made lay-up, a $25 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card for a made free throw and $100 or more for a made half-court shot. If the half-court shot isn’t made, the money rolls over and is added to the next home game.

“It’s exciting for the students and a benefit for the basketball booster club,”said Brian Wester, who coordinates Money Ball for Merchants Bank. “Through our first three years we’ve given nearly $5,000 to students and matched that amount for the booster club.”

The full schedule for the year is as follows:

  • Dec 13 — Cretin Durham Hall
  • Dec 15 — Owatonna
  • Jan 6 — Shakopee
  • Jan 10 — Rosemount
  • Jan 13 — Prior Lake
  • Jan 26 — Eastview
  • Feb 7 — Lakeville North
  • Feb 17 — Lakeville South
  • Feb 21 — Farmington
  • Feb 28 — Eagan
  • March 3 — Burnsville

No customer relationship is necessary to enter or win. Merchants Bank employees and family members are not eligible to enter or win.

Merchants Bank Money Ball is Back for 6 Games in 2016-2017

MoneyballRUS

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball will be coming back for a third year in 2016-2017, according to Kari Johnson of Merchants Bank in Rushford.

“We’re hoping students have a great time this year, just as they did the past two years,” said Johnson, who is coordinating Money Ball. “It’s a fun event for the crowd, for us and for the participants. Plus the R-P booster club benefits.”

Last year, students received a total of $920. Merchants Bank in Rushford matched that donation with another $920 to the Rushford-Peterson Booster Club, for a total payout of $1,840 during Money Ball. In the first year, a total of $640 was given to the participants and booster club, making the total payout $2,480 to date.

Student halftime participants are broken into two groups – 5th grade and younger and 6th grade and older. Participants have to register and are drawn randomly. Three participants, 5th grade and under, have 30 seconds to make shots, earning $5 for a made lay-up, $10 for a free throw, and $25 for a 3-pointer. Another three participants, 6th grade and over, also have 30 seconds, earning $10 for a made free throw, $25 for a 3-pointer and $100 for a half-court shot.

This year, the home games are:

Boys’ Games:

  • Dec.  8             Caledonia
  • Dec. 22            La Crescent
  • Jan.  26           Winona Cotter

Girls’ Games:

  • Jan. 24            St. Charles
  • Feb. 3              Caledonia
  • Feb. 17            La Crescent

“10 Days of Giving” Ends at 231,233 Pounds

10 Days of Giving

Final tallies put the 2015 “10 Days of Giving” at 231,233 pounds of food, the third highest total in the food drive’s 27-year history.

The total breaks down to $99,208 in cash and 32,817 pounds of food. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. The 27-year total for pounds of food collected now stands at 2,839,415. The most food collected was in 2013, with just over 280,000 pounds.

“I believe through the work of everyone in the community we have gone a long way toward our goal of making sure no one in Winona County goes hungry this winter,” said Jennifer Welch, who is co-chair of the food drive. “So many of our employees worked to support and facilitate the drive. I know they are pleased with the outcome.”

More than 30 area schools and child-care centers and more than 120 businesses participated in this year’s drive. You can find a listing of this year’s participating schools and businesses here.