From: Deb Nahrgang
On behalf of the Gifts for Winona partners: Saint Mary's University, United Way of the Greater Winona Area, Wells Fargo Bank, Winona Radio and Winona Volunteer Services
Because of the overwhelming generosity of the Winona community, Gifts for Winona was once again able to bring a little added joy to less fortunate families in our community. This year a record number -- nearly 1,700 individuals -- were helped through the annual community gift-giving program. The holiday spirit was strong enough to fill our distribution site with piles of wrapped packages, containing coats, mittens, clothes, household necessities and toys. Every single person left with not only something to unwrap but also the knowledge that someone cares.
People accepted their gifts with quiet tears of joy, heartfelt thank yous and shouts of holiday greetings. Many children couldn't contain their excitement as they jumped up and down anxiously at the sight of their packages.
Numerous thanks to our dedicated volunteer wrappers, shoppers and sorters who often worked long hours. We appreciate every single person who picked a tag from a tree or made a donation, no matter what size. We're also grateful to all the area churches, businesses and organizations that sponsor large groups. And once again, we thank the Conoco stations, Wells Fargo, the Winona Library, Express Pack & Mail, and Scrapper's Haven for sponsoring trees.
We are forever indebted to some wonderful anonymous donors who came forward through the Winona Community Foundation and United Way. Without your generous donations, we wouldn't have been able to help these record numbers; we humbly thank you.
Thanks also go to the local media for helping us spread the word about this wonderful program; ShopKo and Kmart for letting us come into their stores during a very hectic shopping season; Fleet Farm for the many bags we use to sort presents; and Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical for allowing us to use the Tandeski Center for gift distribution.
We're so proud to be part of such a caring community.