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.
Voting is open now through Thursday, December 10 for Swipe Out Hunger. Cast your vote for your local food shelf and they could receive up to a $5,000 donation. Follow the instructions below to vote:
You may place a vote for the same food shelf once a day. Nominated food shelves include:
Apple Valley and Rosemount – The Open Door
Caledonia, Lanesboro, Rushford and Spring Grove – SEMCAC Food Shelf
Cannon Falls – Cannon Falls Food Shelf
Cottage Grove – Friends in Need Food Shelf
Eau Claire – Feed My People
Hampton – Randolph Community Food Shelf
Hastings – Hastings Family Services
La Crescent – La Crescent Food Share Program
Lakeville – 360 Communities
Onalaska – The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse
Red Wing – Red Wing Area Food Shelf
St. Charles – Southeast Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center
Winona – Winona Volunteer Services
Swipe Out Hunger is a Merchants Bank initiative to support local food shelves in our communities. Food shelves are nominated by our branches and receive a donation based on the number of votes cast through our Facebook page. The total possible donation will increase based on the number of times our customers use their Merchants Bank debit or credit cards between November 30 and December 10.
Teresa Fegyak, Customer Service Representative at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove
The Boy Scouts of America Troop 55 was the top vote getter in voting to determine which Spring Grove area nonprofit organizations will be featured each month in Merchants Bank in Spring Grove.
The Boy Scouts received 281 votes and will be the featured organization during May at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove. Merchants Bank will match up to $200 in donations made to the Boy Scouts at the Bank.
“We believe giving back to the nonprofit organizations that make our community such a unique place to live is the most fitting way to celebrate our fifth anniversary in Spring Grove,” said Teresa Fegyak, who is coordinating the event for Merchants Bank.
During April, area residents were able to place votes for their favorite nonprofit organization at the Bank and on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page. The top five organizations will be featured by the Bank each month, May through September, and will each be eligible to receive up to $200 in matching funds. The other organizations to be featured will be:
June: Bluff Country Gathering, 229 votes
July: Gundersen Tweeten Care Center, 237 votes
August: Houston County 4-H, 115 votes
September: Spring Grove Volunteer Fire Department, 114 votes
Merchants will also sponsor a celebratory event for all area nonprofit organizations in the Spring Grove lobby at 4:15 p.m. on October 5.
In 2015, we honor our commitment to the communities we serve with the 140 for 140 campaign, which highlights a minimum of 140 contributions we make to those communities in the form of volunteer time, education programs, event sponsorships and more.
Merchants Bank was founded July 17, 1875. Since our beginning, we have grown to 21 locations serving 18 communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A number of our locations will also be celebrating significant anniversaries with the Merchants Bank organization in 2015: St. Charles (25 years), Apple Valley, Hastings, Hampton and Cottage Grove (15 years), Lakeville (10 years), and Spring Grove (5 years).
Since our first day, our employees have been dedicated to improving the communities they serve. We are proud to celebrate those contributions this year.
Final tallies put the 2014 “10 Days of Giving” at 220,555 pounds of food, the third highest total in the food drive’s 26-year history.
The total breaks down to $94,069 in cash and 32,417 pounds of food. The two years where more food was collected were 2013, when just over 280,000 pounds of food was collected, and 2009, when just over 250,000 pounds of food was collected. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. The 26-year total for pounds of food collected now stands at 2,597,782.
“We are thankful for the success of this year’s drive in supplying food for Winona Volunteer Services and helping to meet our goal that no one in Winona County goes hungry this winter,” said Jennifer Welch, who is co-chair of the food drive. “It means a lot to our employees to take part and help meet the needs of the food shelf and the people it serves.”
More than 30 area schools and child-care centers and more than 150 businesses participated in this year’s drive. See photos of the schools and a listing of this year’s participating businesses.
Apple Valley students will once again have the opportunity to earn money making lay-ups, free throws and half-court shots during Merchants Bank’s Money Ball halftime shootout at Apple Valley High School basketball games this season.
Last year students earned $1,680 and Merchants Bank matched the $1,680 with a donation to the Apple Valley Basketball Booster Club. Brian Wester, of Merchants Bank in Apple Valley, said the format will be the same as last year. The first Money Ball game is November 25.
“It’s a great way to support the students and the booster club. Plus, it’s a lot of fun for the crowd,” Wester said.
Students sign up before each game and are chosen in a random drawing to be the Money Ball half-time shooters at select home games. The student receives a $10 gift card for a made lay-up, a $25 gift card for a made free throw, and $100 in cash for a made half-court Money Ball shot. Last year, three students made a half-court shot. If the half-court shot isn’t made, the jackpot continues to grow each game until the shot is made.
Mark Metzler and Jennifer Welch have been named co-chairs for this year’s “10 Days of Giving.”
The “10 Days of Giving” runs from December 1-10, with Merchants Bank employees helping the community collect food to benefit the food shelf programs operated by Winona Volunteer Services and the Southeastern Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center in St. Charles.
“We hope the community will respond again to the great need,” Welch said. “We are amazed each year by how much people give to those who need our help.”
Last year, the “10 Days of Giving” set a record by collecting more than 280,000 pounds of food, putting the 25-year total at 2,377,227 pounds. Two pounds of food are calculated for each dollar brought in, although the reality shows that monetary donations often have a greater impact.
“Every year we are amazed at the generosity of the people in our area,” Metzler said.
In Winona in 2013 Winona Volunteer Services had 906 households using the food shelf each month, with another 93 households per month use the emergency food shelf. In total, an average of just over 37,255 pounds of food was distributed each month in 2013.
As in the past, Merchants will be collecting at its locations as well as schools and businesses around the area. For questions, please call Metzler at 494-0524 or Welch at 457-1108. The “10 Days of Giving” will officially kick off with a press conference at 10 a.m., December 1 at Merchants Bank in downtown Winona.