Merchants Bank Donates $5,000 to Winona Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund

Andrew Guzzo, Merchants Bank Regional President

Merchants Bank has donated $5,000 to the COVID-19 Relief Fund established by the Winona Community Foundation according to Andrew Guzzo, Regional President for Merchant Bank. The fund provides emergency relief to community members in Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties affected by the pandemic.

“We know our fellow community members need support at this time and we’re proud to be able to contribute to the efforts coordinated by the Winona Community Foundation,” said Guzzo.

The Winona Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund is positioned to provide more than $120,000 in assistance through nonprofit partners around the region and every dollar will be donated directly back into the communities. Community members interested in donating can visit winonacf.org to make a contribution. Those seeking assistance can contact the Foundation directly at (507) 454-6511.

“The people and businesses in the Winona area amaze me. Time and again when crisis hits, they step up. Even before we formalized the COVID-19 Relief Fund, we were receiving calls asking how to contribute,” said Nancy Brown, President/CEO for the Winona Community Foundation. “We hope these initial gifts will serve as a catalyst for more people and businesses to give. The Winona Community Foundation is pleased to be the conduit to get these funds out to our nonprofit organizations that in turn can get them to those who are dealing with financial hardships related to this pandemic.”

For additional information on financial relief options available through the CARES Act, other assistance programs and updates regarding contribution deadlines and distribution requirements from retirement accounts, visit www.merchantsbank.com/personalresources.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 19 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. As the parent company for Merchants Bank, Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) also owns the First National Bank of Northfield, with two banking offices in Northfield and a loan production office in Bloomington, MN. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2.1 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875.

Merchants Bank’s Leadership Class Completes Service Project to Benefit Hospitalized Children and Ronald McDonald House

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16 leadership class students along with Training Director, Kristine Valk; Chief Human Resource Officer, Bed Ede and Merchants Bank Equipment Finance President, Rick Barry packed 244 Cheer-Up Boxes.

Merchants Bank staff members partnered with Cheeriodicals to deliver 244 Cheer-Up Boxes to patients at Mayo Clinic Children’s Center and families at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, MN on January 14. The boxes were assembled and delivered as part of a service project for Merchants Bank’s I Believe Leadership Series class.

“Servant leadership is a key theme of the I Believe Leadership Series, which was created to help grow and develop leaders at all levels of the Merchants organization. Each class selects a service project and this year’s class selected Cheeriodicals to give back to families in need in the Rochester area,” said Kristine Valk, Training Director and Leadership Series creator.

Leadership class participants raised $18,460.00 to purchase supplies for the 244 Cheer-Up Boxes and partnered with Cheeriodicals to coordinate box assembly and delivery, with the majority of the funds donated by Merchants Bank staff and board members. The Cheer-Up Boxes are made up of age-appropriate magazines, activity books, puzzles, craft projects and games for children to enjoy during their stay at the hospital or Ronald McDonald House. An additional $3,100.00 was donated directly to the Ronald McDonald House.

The I Believe Leadership Series program is a yearlong, homegrown leadership development curriculum for Merchants Bank employees. The program focuses on servant leadership to align with the company focus on making a positive impact in the communities Merchants Bank serves. This year’s class is made up of 16 employees from across the organization’s locations and includes staff from both customer-facing and support departments. As part of the annual curriculum, the class chooses a service initiative. This year the class selected Cheeriodicals.

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Lucas Stangl, Ellen Morehouse, Maralee Berg and Mollie Brink pack Cheer-Up Boxes on January 14.

“Everyone in the leadership class felt privileged to be able to make the Cheer-Up Boxes and spread some joy. The experience of hand-delivering them to patients and families and seeing their smiles was something I won’t forget,” said Ellen Morehouse, Credit Support Manager and Leadership Program Project Co-Chair.

Merchants Bank is a full service community bank with 19 bank locations in southeastern Minnesota, two bank locations in west-central Wisconsin and a leasing division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, in Edina. Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) also owns the First National Bank of Northfield, with two banking offices in Northfield and a loan production office in Bloomington, Minn. Headquartered in Winona, MN, MFGI has more than $2 billion in assets. Merchants was founded in 1875. Member FDIC.

10 Days of Giving at 236,495 Pounds for 2019

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Final totals for the 10 Days of Giving food drive through the end of the day Tuesday, December 17 were at 236,495 pounds of food. The 10 Days of Giving supports the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.

“On behalf of everyone at Merchants, I want to extend a very warm thank you to all those who donated and our community partners for supporting the 10 Days of Giving campaign. Thanks to your generosity, we are that much closer to making sure no one in our area goes hungry this winter,” said Merchants Bank Winona and Southern Regions President Andrew Guzzo.

Business, school, church and daycare pickups were Wednesday and Thursday, December 11 and 12. Some additional contributions were received on Thursday and Friday, December 12 and 13, as well as on Monday, December 16.

“Seeing the community come out to support friends and neighbors really warms your heart,” said co-chair Dawn Stenberg. “We are so grateful for the enthusiasm we saw at the events, including the Open Skate at Bud King Ice Arena, Friday Fish Fry, Apps and Taps event and the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.”

The year’s total breaks down to $104,225 in cash and 28,045 pounds of food. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. Last year’s total was 254,075 pounds. The total for 31 years now stands at 3,748,746 pounds.

“Once again we are moved by our community’s generosity. We are so appreciative of everyone who supported this worthy cause. We are fortunate to live and work in such a warm, caring community,” said co-chair Jennifer Welch.

Merchants collected nonperishable food items at its locations as well as at participating businesses, schools, churches and daycares around the area (view a full list at www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving).

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.

Merchants Bank’s 10 Days of Giving Food Drive Kicks Off 31st Year

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Merchants Bank kicked off the 31st annual 10 Days of Giving food drive on Monday morning. The drive runs December 1-10 and benefits the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services (WVS). Through the first 30 years, more than 3.5 million pounds of food have been collected.

Co-chairs Jennifer Welch and Dawn Stenberg 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, Winona Mayor Mark Peterson and other participants. The drive was kicked off this year with a $10,000 donation from Steve Craney, in memory of his late wife, Gina Craney.

“We honored to 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,” said Guzzo.

Last year, the 10 Days of Giving campaign collected 254,075 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 value and appreciate any donation, but as a food shelf, our monetary dollars go farther at the grocery store than an individual’s,” said Burke. “What that means is, Winona Volunteer Services can purchase $50.00 worth of food with just $15.00.”

Burke said there continues to be a need in the area. Through the end of 2018, an average number of 751 households were registered for the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services and more than 3,000 individuals were served. Another 1,132 people were helped at the Emergency food shelf. Last year WVS distributed 499,272 pounds of food. Additionally, 393 elementary students received healthy weekend snacks during the 2018-19 school year.

Joining Andrew Guzzo, Sandra Burke and Mark Peterson giving the ceremonial “First Gift of Food” were Christian Kline, a first-grade student at Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School and Payton Kammerer, a third-grade student at St. Stanislaus Elementary School.

As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as at schools and participating businesses around the area (view a full list at www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving). For questions, please call Jennifer Welch at (507) 457-1108 or Dawn Stenberg at (507) 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. 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 3.5 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 in Winona at 262,456 Pounds for 2018

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Final totals for the 10 Days of Giving food drive through the end of the day Wednesday were at 262,456 pounds of food. The 10 Days of Giving supports the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services. This is the second largest collection in the 30-year history of the annual food drive.

“On behalf of our entire Merchants team, I want to thank everyone who donated and our community partners. Your generosity is heart-warming and will help so many people in Winona this winter,” said Andrew Guzzo, Regional President for Merchants Bank.

Business, school, church and daycare pickups were Tuesday, December 11 and some contributions were received on Wednesday, December 12. Additional donations are expected through the remainder of this week.

This year’s total breaks down to $118,145.50 in cash and 26,165 pounds of food. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. Last year’s total was 207,898 pounds. The total for 30 years now stands at 3,520,632 pounds.

Merchants collected nonperishable food items at its locations as well as at participating businesses, schools, churches and daycares around the area (view a full list).

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 3,500,000 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

10 Days of Giving Food Drive Reports 82,094 Pounds of Food Collected

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Through Tuesday, Merchants Bank’s 30th annual 10 Days of Giving Food Drive was at 82,094 pounds of food collected to benefit the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services (WVS).

The number of pounds of food collected included $41,047 in cash and 822 pounds of food. A $10,000 anonymous donation is part of the collection total. Through the same time last year, 75,526 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 about $50.00 worth of food with just $15.00.

“Seeing the Winona community come together to support the 10 Days of Giving is truly inspiring. We know our local students are busy gathering donations and are excited to contribute. Thank everyone who has donated so far,” said Dawn Stenberg, 10 Days of Giving Committee Co-Chair.

Last year, 207,898 pounds of food was collected. The drive started this year with more than 3,000,000 pounds collected through its first 29 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 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 9. Merchants Bank will be serving refreshments during the stop.

Community members are also invited to attend these 10 Days of Giving events:

  • Fish Fry Dinner on Friday, December 7 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. Cost is $11.00.
  • Holiday Lighted Parade on Saturday, December 8 at 5:30 p.m. and coordinated by the Goodview Activity Group.

For more details about these and other upcoming 10 Days events, visit www.merchantsbank.com/10daysofgiving.

“We are looking forward to seeing many people at the Fish Fry Dinner on Friday. Eat in or takeout options are available and you can buy your tickets right at the door,” said Jen Welch, 10 Days of Giving Committee Co-Chair.

As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as at schools and participating businesses around the area (view full list). 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.

10 Days of Giving Food Drive Kicks Off 30th Anniversary Year

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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.

Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove Launches Tenth 10 Days of Giving

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Merchants Bank is launching its tenth annual 10 Days of Giving food drive to help those in need who utilize the Friends in Need Food Shelf in Cottage Grove and the Christian Covered Emergency Food Shelf (CCEFS) in Woodbury. The drive runs December 1-10.

“Our Bank is fortunate to be working with two community food shelves to help them meet collection goals during our 10th anniversary year for 10 Days of Giving,“ said Randy Bachman, Branch Manager of Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove. “We’re hoping it’s our best year yet.”

Last year, the 10 Days of Giving helped to collect 21,253 food and personal items and $171.95 in cash donations for the Friends in Need Food Shelf. People are asked to bring toiletries and monetary donations to Merchants Bank’s at 8479 East Point Douglas Road S. Checks can be made out to the “10 Days of Giving.”

Donations can also be made at the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop, near the Sieben Bridge, in front of the Youth Service Bureau, at 5:15 p.m. on December 10.

Donations can also be made at these participating schools, school district offices and other locations:

  • Armstrong Elementary
  • Cottage Grove Elementary
  • Crestview Elementary
  • the District Program Center ISD 833
  • the District Service Center ISD 833
  • East Ridge High School
  • Grey Cloud Elementary
  • Hillside Elementary
  • Lake Middle School
  • Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion
  • Oltman Middle School
  • Park High School
  • Pine Hill Elementary
  • Pullman Elementary
  • Red Rock Elementary
  • Royal Oaks Elementary
  • the Transportation Department ISD 833
  • Woodbury High School
  • Woodbury Middle School
  • Woodbury YMCA

The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank in St. Charles, Friends in Need Food Shelf and CCEFS to help stock local food shelves each winter. Since 2008, the drive has collected thousands of pounds of food and helped thousands of people in the area. In addition to the Cottage Grove and Woodbury drives, 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 in St. Charles Launches 30th 10 Days of Giving

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Merchants Bank in St. Charles will once again partner with the Hometown Resource Center and area schools to help those in need during the 10 Days of Giving food drive, December 1-10.

“We are fortunate to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 10 Days of Giving this year with a wonderful partner in the Hometown Resource Center,” said Merchants Bank’s Sandra Pasche, who is coordinating this year’s drive. “I’ve been overwhelmed each year by the generosity of this community and I’m sure this year will be no exception.”

The Hometown Resource Center provides assistance to those in need in the St. Charles area. Students in the St. Charles area will be asked to provide donations of non-perishable food items and monetary donations. Additionally, individuals and businesses in the St. Charles area are being encouraged to make donations. Donations can be placed in barrels Dec. 1-10 (barrels will be picked up Monday, December 10) at these locations:

  • Merchants Bank
  • Charles Day Care
  • Charles Elementary School
  • Charles High School
  • Matthews Community Preschool

Cash donations are preferred because they allow the Hometown Resource Center to buy the products it needs the most. Monetary donations can be brought or mailed to Merchants Bank in St. Charles, 1130 Whitewater Avenue.

The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank in St. Charles and the Hometown Resource Center to make sure no one in St. Charles goes hungry each winter. Since 1989, the drive has collected thousands of pounds of food and helped thousands of people in the area. In addition to the St. Charles 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 in Hastings Launches Ninth 10 Days of Giving

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Merchants Bank in Hastings will once again partner with Hastings Family Service (HFS) and area schools to help those in need during the 10 Days of Giving food drive, December 1-10.

Last year, with help from Merchants Bank, 2,747 pounds of food and $16,657.37 in monetary donations were collected from students and community members to help Hastings Family Service.

Much of the food is collected during the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train visit to Hastings, scheduled this year for Sunday, December 9 at 8:30 p.m. at the Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 East Second Street. While all donations are appreciated, monetary support can have a maximum impact with Hastings Family Service being able to purchase 70 pounds of food with just $10.00.

“Each year it is a privilege to work alongside Hastings Family Service to help those in need during the holiday season and beyond,” said Bruce Goblirsch, President of Merchants Bank in Hastings.

Area residents are encouraged to drop off monetary donations and non-perishable food items for the 10 Days of Giving at Merchants Bank in Hastings, 1525 Vermillion Street. Checks can be made payable to the “10 Days of Giving.”

The 10 Days of Giving food drive is an annual community collaboration between Merchants Bank in Hastings and Hastings Family Service to make sure no one in Hastings goes hungry each winter. Since 1999, the drive has collected thousands of pounds of food and helped thousands of people in the area. In addition to the Hastings 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.