“10 Days of Giving” at 206,050 Pounds for 2016; Passes 3 Million Pounds Collected in Total


“10 Days of Giving” Food Drive Co-Chairs Jen Welch and Chad Anderson

Through school and business pickups Monday and Tuesday, the “Days of Giving”Food Drive was at 206,050 pounds of food. The collection puts the drive at over 3 million pounds of food collected during the drive’s 28-year history to benefit the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services.

“The pick-ups are always a lot of work for our volunteers and the volunteers at Winona Volunteer Services, and it always seems as if they are on the coldest days of the year,” said Jen Welch, one of this year’s co-chairs for Merchants Bank. “Our thanks to all of our volunteers and to all of the people who donated goods and money to make the drive a success. We are thankful to top 3 million pounds and grateful that we have been able to help people in our area who have a need.”

The 2016 total breaks down to $90,900 in cash and 24,250 pounds of food. For the purposes of the total, two pounds of food are counted for each dollar. The total for 28 years now stands at 3,045,465 pounds.

“All of us at Merchants Bank are looking forward to renewing the drive next year and helping to meet our goal of helping to make sure no one in Winona County goes hungry during the winter,” Welch said.

Merchants collected 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.

“10 Days of Giving” Food Drive Has a Good Beginning


Through Tuesday, Merchants Bank’s 28th annual “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive was at 97,036 pounds of food collected.

The number of pounds of food collected included $47,976 in cash and 1,084 pounds of food. Included in the amount was a $10,000 anonymous donation. Two pounds of food are counted for each dollar collected. Through the same time last year, 117,381 pounds of food had been collected.

“We are always truly amazed at the generosity of the people in our community, especially as it relates to helping others,”said Jennifer Welch of Merchants Bank, one of this year’s co-chairs.

Last year, more than 231,233 pounds of food was collected, making the 27-year total 2,839,415 pounds of food. With totals to date for this year, the “10 Days of Giving” Food Drive is at 2,936,451 pounds of food collected.

“We are looking forward to the remainder of the drive,” Welch said. “We expect there will be great turnouts for the Holiday Train on Thursday and at the Santa House on Saturday and Sunday.”

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is scheduled to arrive at 4 p.m. at the Winona Amtrak Station. The Santa House is open at 25038 County Road 9 1-5 p.m. Saturday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday. Suggested admission to the Santa House is $5 per person or nonperishable food items. Pictures with Santa will be available for $3 a photo.

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: winonavs.org. Indicate ” 10 Days of Giving”after entering your name.

Merchants Bank Offers $5 Decorative Plates to Support “Fill an Empty Plate, Feed a Hungry Child” effort and the United Way’s “Packing for the Weekend” Program

The Merchants Bank locations in Cannon Falls and Red Wing are both supporting the “Fill an Empty Plate, Feed a Hungry Child”effort that supports the “Packing for the Weekend”program of the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce counties.

Through December 24 the locations are asking customers and area citizens to help feed area children and their families by buying a $5 decorative plate The plates will be placed on a tree in the Cannon Falls lobby and will be displayed in the Red Wing lobby.

While the Red Wing office has already made a contribution to the United Way, the Cannon Falls office will match the first $500 raised through donations.

The employees of the Cannon Falls and Red Wing offices both support the United Way through individual monetary contributions and through the volunteer efforts of its employees. Red Wing Vice President Patti Robertson and Cannon Falls Vice President Kim O’Reilly serve on the United Way Board of Directors.

Merchants Bank has 21 locations, including Minnesota locations in Red Wing, Cannon Falls, Hampton, La Crescent, Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, Spring Grove, 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 and equal housing lenders. Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance is also a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.

September Events



9/15: La Crescent Applefest Open House
During regular business hours
At Merchants Bank in La Crescent

Merchants Bank staff will be serving locally-grown apples, apple cookies and coffee in the bank lobby.

9/16: Spring Grove Windshield Washing Fundraiser
2:00-6:00 p.m.

At Merchants Bank in Spring Grove

Join Merchants Bank for a Window Washing Fundraiser to support the Spring Grove Ambulance! Merchants will donate $5 for every car windshield washed from 2-5 p.m. Visit the Merchants drive-thru in Spring Grove for your FREE window washing and help support a great cause!

9/16: Cannon Falls Customer Picnic
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Cannon Falls

Our staff will be grilling hot dogs and serving refreshments in the Bank parking lot.

9/16: Apple Valley Customer Appreciation & One Year Anniversary
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
At Merchants Bank in Apple Valley

Celebrate the One Year Anniversary of our move to Glazier Avenue. In our lobby, staff will be serving breakfast from 9:00-11:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

9/18: Applefest Parade
1:00 p.m.
At Elm & Main Streets in La Crescent, MN

Merchant Bank staff will be collecting food and cash donations during the parade. Please consider supporting the La Crescent Food Share Program with a donation.

9/21: Winona Economic Summit
7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Tau Center – Winona State University West Campus

Join several speakers, including Phil Gwoke from BridgeWorks and Doug Loon from the Minnesota Chamber, for a morning focusing on the theme of Future Growth Demands Response to Workforce.

9/23: Bomber Spirit Night
5:00-6:30 p.m.
At John Burch Park in Cannon Falls

The Cannon Falls Education Foundation invites you to Bomber Spirit Night. Enjoy a spirit night event prior to the football game vs. the La Crescent Lancers. Food, games, and more!

9/30: Battle for the Apple Football Game
7:00 p.m.
At Eastview High School

Join our staff for the city’s high school rivalry football game.

9/30: Lakeville North vs. South Football Game
7:00 p.m.
At Lakeville South High School

Join our staff for the city’s high school rivalry football game. Stop by our tailgate party where we’ll be serving food with all the proceeds going to local high

Bailey’s Irish Cream



  • 1 cup light cream
  • 14 oz. can Eagle sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 2/3 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract


Combine all ingredients in a blender set on high speed for 30 seconds. Bottle in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate. The liqueur will keep for at least 2 months if kept cool. Be sure to shake well before serving. Makes 4 cups.

Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake



  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • whipped cream



Preheat oven to 350°. Make the crust by combining the gram cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides of a spring form pan. You don’t want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set it aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.

When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Use dental floss to make a clean cut. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top. Serves 8.


Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.

The Potato Recipe


Chief Financial Officer Sue Savat shares one of her favorite recipes from the Merchants Family Cookbook. “I really like this recipe for three reasons – it is really easy to make, really delicious to eat and really easy to clean up!  All very important factors in my cooking!”


  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes



Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In large plastic bag or bowl, add all ingredients. Shake or stir potatoes until completely coated. Empty potatoes into shallow baking or roasting pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes or until tender and golden brown.


Merchants Family Cookbooks are available at all Merchants Bank locations for $15. Proceeds benefit local food shelf programs.