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

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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

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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
  • 2/16 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

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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.

Merchants Bank’s Money Ball to be in Cannon Falls and Randolph

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After a successful first year in Cannon Falls, Merchants Bank is expanding Money Ball to include Randolph for the 2017-2018 basketball season, according to Jenny Holz of Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls.

“It was popular in Cannon Falls with the students and the school, so we thought we would offer it in Randolph as well,” said Holz, who coordinates Money Ball.

Last year, Merchants gave away a total of $500 to students and $500 to the school to be split evenly between the boy’s and girl’s basketball programs.

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 baskets. 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.

This year’s games will be:

  • Nov. 30 Randolph Girls vs. Kenyon/Wanamingo
  • Jan. 8 Randolph Boys vs. Cleveland
  • Dec. 4 Cannon Falls Girls vs. Schaeffer Academy
  • Feb. 15 Cannon Falls Boys vs. Dover

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Rushford, Lanesboro, 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 in Lakeville Raises $700 for Lakeville North and Lakeville South

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Kristin Vlasak, Dan Vlasak, Eddie Araujo, Alejandra Hernandez-Silva, Kelly Donohoe, Mark Kragness, Jim Louwagie.

Attendees at the Lakeville North and Lakeville South football game September 22 enjoyed delicious Dairy Queen Blizzards and were able to support both schools with $700 thanks to Merchants Bank.

Merchants supplied and served the Blizzards at the game and donated all the proceeds from the sales to the schools.

“We are passionate about supporting our community and the game brings a lot of community members and customers out,” said Dan Vlasak, President of Merchants Bank in Lakeville. “We are glad we were able to see so many people we know, and the schools were able to benefit.”

Merchants Bank in Lakeville has been supporting the Lakeville schools for a number of years through fundraisers at the North and South game.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Lakeville, Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings and Rosemount.  Other Minnesota locations include Winona, St. Charles, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, La Crescent, Cannon Falls, Red Wing and Hampton. Wisconsin locations are in Eau Claire and Onalaska. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

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

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Merchants Bank will be donating five cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card is used between August 1-8, up to a total of $10,000, to area food shelves during “Swipe Out Hunger,”the Bank’s fifth 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 August 1-8 for their chosen food shelves on the Merchants Bank Facebook page (www.facebook.com/merchantsbank).
  • At the end of the giveaway, the food shelves with the top three vote totals will receive donations of $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place. All other food shelves will evenly split the remaining $5,000.

Participating food shelves were nominated by Merchants Bank locations (Bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses). A number of locations nominated the same food shelf based on which organization serves the needs of their community. Participating this year are:

  • 360 Communities (Lakeville)
  • Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls)
  • Channel 1 (Rochester)
  • Feed My People (Eau Claire)
  • Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove)
  • Hastings Family Service (Hastings)
  • The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska)
  • La Crescent Food Share (La Crescent)
  • The Open Door Pantry (Apple Valley and Rosemount)
  • Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton)
  • SEMCAC (Caledonia, Lanesboro, Rushford, Spring Grove)
  • Hometown Resource Center (St. Charles)
  • Winona Volunteer Services (Winona, Lakeside, Goodview)

Last year, Merchants Bank donated $10,146.67 to local food shelves through Swipe Out Hunger and 5,841 votes were cast. Everyone is invited to vote for your favorite food shelf by visiting the Merchants Bank Facebook page during the campaign (August 1-8).

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, Spring Grove, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, La Crescent, 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. All banks are FDIC members. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

Merchants Bank Gives Away $5,340 for Money Ball, Including $2,670 to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club

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Pictured with a check for $2,670 (l-r): Brian Wester of Merchants Bank, Zach Goring, Apple Valley High School Boys Varsity Head Coach, Debbie Jones, AVBBC President, and Marty Christiansen, AVBBC Treasurer.

Merchants Bank presented a check for $2,670 to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club, matching the amount Merchants gave away to Apple Valley school district students during 2016-2017 Money Ball promotion, according to Brian Wester of Merchants Bank, who coordinated the program.

“I would like to thank Merchants Bank for its generous donation to our basketball program. Our goal is to provide a positive basketball experience for our kids playing high school basketball. Through the donation made by Merchants Bank, we are able to give our kids the best opportunities to be successful. Thank you!” said Apple Valley High School Boys Varsity Head Coach Zach Goring.

Two students were randomly chosen to participate during halftime of each Apple Valley boys’ varsity basketball games. Students won a $10 gift card for a made lay-up and a $25 gift card for a made free throw. Students were awarded $100 for a made half-court shot, with the Money Ball rolling over if the half-court shot was not made.

Wester said seven students made half-court shots during the season, including two students who each made $700 for making shots on the last night.

Merchants Bank Twin Cities locations include Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. In total there Merchants Bank has 21 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. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

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