Use Your Merchants Debit or Credit Card to Swipe Out Hunger

eNews-SwipeOutHunger

By swiping your Merchants Bank debit or credit card you can help maximize the amount of money Merchants Bank gives this year to local food shelves.

What is Swipe Out Hunger?
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 by 5 cents each time our customers swipe their Merchants Bank debit or credit cards between November 28 and December 10, to a maximum of $10,000.

This year Merchants goal is to:

  • Give $5,000 to the top vote getting food shelf.
  • Give a percentage of another $5,000 to all other nominated shelves based on their percentage of votes.

In order to achieve both goals, we need to reach 200,000 swipes (purchases made with a Merchants Bank debit or credit card) by our customers between November 28 and December 10.

How can you help?
Between November 28-December 10:

  • Use your debit or credit card to increase the total amount of money Merchants donates.
  • Like the Merchants Bank Facebook page and cast your vote for your favorite local food shelf. You may vote up to three times per day.

Which food shelves are participating?
This year’s nominated food shelves include:

Apple Valley and Rosemount – The Open Door
Caledonia and Spring Grove – SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf
Cannon Falls – Cannon Falls Food Shelf
Cottage Grove – Friends in Need Food Shelf
Hampton – Randolph Community Food Shelf
Hastings – Hastings Family Services
La Crescent – La Crescent Area Food Shelf
Lakeville – 360 Communities
Lanesboro – SEMCAC in Preston
Onalaska – The Hunger Task Force of La Crosse
Red Wing – Red Wing Area Food Shelf
Rushford – SEMCAC in Rushford
St. Charles – Southeast Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center
Winona – Winona Volunteer Services

An opportunity to come home

Greg Evans

Winona native Greg Evans became Merchants Bank’s president late last year. After seven years working for Merchants in the Cannon Falls region, Evans is still transitioning back to life in his hometown. Photo credit: Andrew Link, Winona Daily News

Like father, like son.

That might be a good way to describe new Merchants Bank president Greg Evans, but it’s not the only way. Winona native is another. So is Steamboat Days harbormaster, 10 Days of Giving founder and community leader.

For his father, Gary Evans, another native and Winona business and community leader, when he talks about his son, it’s about how he has stepped into his own and the mark he has left on the community.

“When he came back from college he was Gary Evans’ son,” he admitted. “Now that he’s come back from Cannon Falls, I am Greg Evans’ father. I really like that. He’s a chip off the old block.”

Community is important to Greg, who cites Gary and Merchants Financial Group CEO Rod Nelson as mentors and people who have instilled the importance of community in him. Merchants’ philosophy is that a strong community translates into a strong community bank, and Greg is a follower of that philosophy.

“Community engagement isn’t optional,” Greg said. “It’s an expectation. We believe that when the community thrives and prospers, Merchants can only benefit as a result.”

After studying journalism in college and a short tenure as a reporter in Iowa, Greg came back to Winona and joined Merchants Bank in the late 1980s in marketing. One of his first projects at the bank was starting the annual 10 Days of Giving food drive, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last winter and has brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of tons of food for the Winona food shelf.

Nelson said the 10 Days of Giving was a prime example of how Greg leads by example, and called the growth over the years of the program a testament to his passion for the community.

“It’s gone beyond a Merchants’ thing,” Nelson said. “It’s now a Winona thing.”

Greg was involved with a number of community events and organizations during his time in Winona, capped off — literally — with being named Steamboat Days Harbormaster in 2007.

Later that year, he was promoted to be Merchants regional president for the bank’s newly acquired Cannon Falls division, and Greg began to build ties in his new home.

That, of course, meant community involvement. Greg’s wife, Terri, is a leader with the Cannon Falls Education Foundation. Greg got involved with the Cannon Falls Rotary Club and the Goodhue Habitat for Humanity board, among others.

Greg said he never really had a strategy to come back to Winona, but the chips fell in place last year when he was chosen to replace Rod Nelson as bank president. It wasn’t an easy decision after seven years of building a home and community connections, and Greg said he initially thought Cannon Falls might be the last stop in his career path.

“But we saw an opportunity to come home and be close to family,” Greg said. “It’s just an extraordinary opportunity.”

The transition to Winona is smoothing out, as Greg bounced between the two cities as he looked for his replacement for Cannon Falls. His family is still working on selling the old house and getting one in Winona, but in the meantime has moved from a hotel room to apartments near East Lake Winona, which he appreciates for the beautiful view and quick access to the running path.

Evans said the transition won’t really sink in until after he’s unpacked and settled in, but he said one thing didn’t require a transition — falling back in love with his hometown. The Winona community and its beauty is a tremendous draw, and he’s glad to be back, he said.

“A lot of people leave Winona and chose to come back,” he said. “It says so much of the caring nature of this community.”

While Greg and Gary were never strangers during his time in Cannon Falls, the elder Evans is glad to have his son back in town. He’s proud of all his son has accomplished, and said he knows Greg has a deep love for Winona and that commitment to the community and its people shows in his endeavors.

“He sees the good in others and firmly believes you can’t accomplish things in a vacuum,” Gary said. “It’s a wonderful thing when parents can be proud of their children.”

 

 Story by . Reprinted with permission from Winona Daily News.

Project FINE Recognizes 2013 “Partner of the Year”

As seen in the Winona Post

On February 11, the Project FINE Board of Directors hosted its “Annual Report to the Community” at the Saint Mary’s University Toner Center. This event is a celebration of the organization’s activities and accomplishments during the previous year and a time to thank the many partners, stakeholders, staff and volunteers who help Project FINE make a positive impact in our community.

Each year, Project FINE recognizes an exceptional partner with the Partners Award.  For 2013, we are pleased to honor Merchants Bank with this award.

Pictured are Fatima Said, Project FINE Executive Director; Rod Nelson, Merchants Bank President and CEO; and Dr. Connie J. Gores, Project FINE 2013 Board President.

Pictured are Fatima Said, Project FINE Executive Director; Rod Nelson, Merchants Bank President and CEO; and Dr. Connie J. Gores, Project FINE 2013 Board President.

Merchants Bank
Merchants Bank has been an exceptional partner to Project FINE for many years.  In 2013, they completed an organizational diversity assessment and collaborated with Project FINE to provide diversity training for bank staff.  Merchants Bank also offered a series of banking education sessions for refugees and immigrants on home ownership and refinancing and they continue their commitment to serving diverse populations by providing interpreters for their non-English speaking bank clients.  As a result of this education and outreach, four newcomer families purchased a home through Merchants Bank in 2013 and countless others opened accounts.

Project FINE would like to thank the leadership and staff at Merchants Bank for their commitment to creating an inclusive environment and meeting the banking needs of newcomers in our community.  We are proud to partner with Merchants Bank and over 60 other community businesses, organizations and service providers to build a respectful and sensitive community.

“10 Days of Giving” Raises Food and Money in St. Charles

10DaysLogoST. CHARLES, Minn. – The Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center received 3,300 pounds of food and $500 from the “10 Days of Giving,” December 1-10, at Merchants Bank in St. Charles.

Area businesses and individuals added to the total by bring food and money to Merchants in St. Charles. Also included in the total was $250 that the Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center received from “Swipe Out Hunger,” a Facebook giveaway that Merchants ran to coincide with “10 Days of Giving.” “Swipe Out Hunger” benefited food shelves throughout the region.

“We are thankful for the generosity of our neighbors, and we are grateful that we have the opportunity to help the good people at the Southeast Minnesota Rural Education and Resource Center,” said Sandra Pasche of Merchants Bank.

Merchants Bank has been holding the “10 Days of Giving” for the past 25 years. This is the second year for the Facebook giveaway.

“10 Days of Giving” Record-Breaking Year Ends by Topping 280,000 Pounds

10DaysLogoWINONA, Minn. – Final tallies put the 25th Anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” at 280,082 pounds of food.

The total breaks down to $127,626 in cash and 24,830 pounds of food. The previous record was set in 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.

“This year’s drive was successful because we came together as a community to help people, to make sure that no one in Winona County goes hungry,” said Mark Metzler, who is co-chair of the food drive. “Most of all, we are moved by the generosity of our neighbors who have made the effort to make a difference for someone else.”

This is the 25th anniversary of the “10 Days of Giving” and the 40th anniversary of Winona Volunteer Services, which benefits from the Winona contributions. The 25-year total for pounds of food collected now stands at 2,393,767.

“At Merchants Bank, we are thankful that we have the ability and employee dedication to help facilitate this drive. It really is a privilege,” Metzler said.

More than 30 area schools and child-care centers and more than 150 businesses participated in this year’s drive.

Area Food Shelves Receive Money from “Swipe Out Hunger”

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank’s “Swipe Out Hunger” Facebook giveaway has concluded with more than 1,700 votes cast to benefit area food shelves.

Merchants Bank donated 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card was used between November 29 and December 15, for a total of $10,000 to be split among the food shelves. Votes were placed on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page.

Merchants Bank representatives will be presenting food shelf representatives with checks within the coming week.

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses). There were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. The “Swipe Out Hunger” awards break down as follows:

  • 360 Communities (Lakeville): $270
  • Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls): $540
  • Channel One Rochester (Rochester): $569
  • Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount): $352
  • Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove): $387
  • Hastings Family Services (Hastings): $751
  • La Crescent Food Share (La Crescent): $2,383
  • Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton): $264
  • Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing): $250
  • SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove): $387
  • SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro): $250
  • SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford): $370
  • Southeastern Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles): $250
  • The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska): $2,066
  • Winona Volunteer Services (Winona, Lakeside, Goodview): $1,238
 A minimum of $250 was given to nominated food shelves. Total amount given away was $10,327.

Fifth Annual “10 Days of Giving” in Cottage Grove

Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove Launches Fifth Annual “10 Days of Giving;” “Swipe Out Hunger” Will Also Benefit the Friends in Need Food Shelf

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. – Merchants Bank is launching its fifth annual “10 Days of Giving” event to help those in need. The event officially runs December 1-10, although it does extend through the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train and Sheryl Crow’s concert, scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, December 14.

“We hope that people will take a few minutes out of their busy lives to enjoy Sheryl Crow and the Holiday Train and help those people who are less fortunate,” said Randy Bachman of Merchants, who serves on the Holiday Train committee.

This year, in addition to the “10 Days of Giving,” Merchants Bank is helping nominated local food shelves through “Swipe Out Hunger,” where Merchants is donating a nickel to those nominated food shelves, up to a total of $10,000, every time a Merchants Bank debit card or credit card is used between November 29 and December 15. The Friends in Need Food Shelf was nominated by Merchants Bank in Cottage Grove to benefit from “Swipe Out Hunger.”

Supporters of the Friends in Need Food Shelf can vote once a day, Nov. 29-Dec. 15, at the Merchants Bank Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank. At the end of the giveaway, Hastings Family Service will receive a percentage of the total amount of money donated to “Swipe Out Hunger” based on the percentage of votes it receives on Facebook.

Cottage Grove has been a highly successful stop for the Holiday Train with the Friends in Need Food Shelf benefitting from generous contributions of non-perishable food items, toiletries and money. Attendees are encouraged to bring toiletries and cash donations this year as well.

Area residents are encouraged to bring cash donations and non-perishable food items to the Holiday Train and to Merchants Bank, 7200 East Point Douglas Road S, as well as participating businesses and South Washington County schools.

Merchants Bank in Hastings Kicks Off “10 Days of Giving;” “Swipe Out Hunger” to Help

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

This year, in addition to the “10 Days of Giving,” Merchants Bank is helping nominated local food shelves through “Swipe Out Hunger,” where Merchants is donating a nickel to those nominated food shelves, up to a total of $10,000, every time a Merchants Bank debit card or credit card is used between November 29 and December 15. Hastings Family Service was nominated by Merchants Bank in Hastings to benefit from “Swipe Out Hunger.”

Supporters of Hastings Family Service can vote once a day, November 29-December 15, at the Merchants Bank Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank. At the end of the giveaway, Hastings Family Service will receive a percentage of the total amount of money donated to “Swipe Out Hunger” based on the percentage of votes it receives on Facebook.

For the past several years, students from around the Hastings area and community members collected food and money for those in the area who are less fortunate. Much of the food is collected during the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train visit to Hastings, scheduled this year for 4:30 p.m., December 12, at the Canadian Pacific Depot, 500 East Second Street.

“People in our area are generous and that is a great benefit to people who have a need,” said Bruce Goblirsch, President of Merchants Bank in Hastings. “Hastings Family Service does a tremendous job, and we are very happy to support its efforts.”

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. The Hastings bank is one of 20 Merchants Bank community banking locations throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Merchants just announced that has come to an agreement with Alliance Bank to purchase an Alliance location in Eau Claire, Wis. That sale is pending regulatory approval. Merchants Bank is a member FDIC.

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

SwipeOutHungerAppBannerMerchants Bank will be donating 5 cents each time a Merchants Bank credit card or debit card is used between November 29 and December 15, up to a total of $10,000, for area food shelves during “Swipe Out Hunger,” the Bank’s second 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 November 29 and December 15 for their chosen organization
  • At the end of the giveaway, nominated food shelves will receive a percentage of total amount of money raised based on the percentage of votes that organization receives on Merchants Bank’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/MerchantsBank

The Food Shelves were nominated by bank locations (Bank locations making the nomination are noted in parentheses), and there were a number of locations that nominated the same organization. Participating this year are: SEMCAC Houston County Food Shelf (Caledonia and Spring Grove), Friends in Need Food Shelf (Cottage Grove), La Crescent Food Shelf (La Crescent), The Hunger Task Force (Onalaska), Channel One Rochester (Rochester), Southeast Minnesota Education & Resource Center (St. Charles), Winona Volunteer Services (Winona), 360 Communities (Lakeville), Eagan & Lakeville Resource Center (Apple Valley and Rosemount), Hastings Family Services (Hastings), the Cannon Falls Food Shelf (Cannon Falls), SEMCAC in Preston (Lanesboro), SEMCAC in Rushford (Rushford), the Randolph Food Shelf (Hampton) and the Red Wing Area Food Shelf (Red Wing).

10 Days Of Giving: The need continues

EvansGreg

Greg Evans

Written by Greg Evans for the Winona Daily News

For each of the past 25 years, the first 10 days of December have been treated as special at Merchants Bank and throughout the Winona community. It has become an extraordinary tradition for the entire community to embrace a spirit of collaboration and giving that far exceeds the expectations established when the idea for the “10 Days of Giving” food drive was hatched in 1989.

As the recently-hired marketing coordinator for Merchants Bank at the time, I became aware of the inability for Winona Volunteer Services to keep and adequate supply of non-perishable items on its emergency food shelves to meet the needs of people who were going hungry throughout Winona County. I was stunned. Growing up in Winona, I never saw a visible sign of hunger in our community. It shouldn’t be that way in a community as richly blessed as Winona.

Fundamental to Merchants Bank is the responsibility to step up as a community leader when there is a need to be met. I knew of an emergency food drive initiative coordinated by WGN-TV/Radio for the city of Chicago. I wondered aloud to the bank’s executive management team led by Pete Roehl if it would be possible for the bank to make something like that happen in Winona. Clearly, it was more than simply possible.

The partnership between Merchants Bank and Winona Volunteer Services that began modestly in 1989 has now grown to include virtually every viable institution throughout the community. “10 Days of Giving” has become its own brand, standing on its own because it symbolizes all that is truly special about my hometown. When there is a need, Winonans roll up their sleeves and help other Winonans.

As “10 Days of Giving” has grown beyond anybody’s expectations, you have helped feed hundreds of needy people throughout Winona County. And, unfortunately, the need for the services provided by Winona Volunteer Services continues to grow. As the community celebrates this, the 25th year of the “10 Days of Giving” food drive, please take pride in knowing your participation has provided emergency relief for hundreds of Winona Volunteer Services clients who remain virtually invisible to most of us. More importantly, give generously again this year at any Merchants Bank location, participating businesses or Winona Volunteer Services so that nobody in Winona County will go hungry this winter.

Greg Evans is Regional President of Merchants Bank — Cannon Falls, Hampton and Red Wing