Local residents are invited to participate in a drive-through charity event across Winona, the Seven Symbols of Christmas, on the first two weekends of December. With the pandemic and election, a small group of volunteers wanted to plan an event to bring the community together for a common cause and do a little good for the community.
At the event, participants will visit seven different stops throughout Winona with opportunities for supporting their community at each stop. The event will be held on Friday, December 4, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. to noon, on Friday, December 11, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, December 12, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The stops include:
1. At the Winona Post, at 64 East Second Street, look for the Star in the front window. Receive a welcome card in front from a volunteer with directions to the next location.
2. Winona Volunteer Services and food shelf, at 402 East Second Street, participants may bring a holiday meal food item such as canned pie fillings, stuffing mix, or canned meat for the food shelf and/ or an article of winter clothing to donate, new or used. They especially are in need of coats, mittens and hats. No scarves please. Drive in through the middle driveway, place donated items in box at the back of the buildings by the symbol with a volunteer, exit to the back.
3. At the Winona Law Enforcement Center, 201 West Third Street, our service for this location is to donate thank you cards, letters of appreciation or kids may draw a picture to present to thank our local police and sheriff’s officers for their service to our community. Both the Winona Police and Winona County Sheriff’s Departments are housed here. Please look for our volunteer with a donation box on Third Street.
4. At the Winona Catholic Charities Warming Center, at 79 West Third Street, donate blankets, mittens or gloves, hats, travel size personal care items, or packaged snack items. Look for our volunteer with a donation box.
5. At the Winona Senior Friendship Center, 251 Main Street, please enter into circular drive on Fifth Street. Here is a proposed list of items to place in a quart or gallon size ziplock bag for the Friendship Center to give to local seniors that will be alone for Christmas: mini hand sanitizer, postage stamps, an assortment of greeting cards, wrapped hard candies, individual wrapped cheese and crackers or cookies, gloves, breath mints, Feel free to be creative, and add items you feel would be appropriate. A nice touch would be to include a Christmas card of cheer.
6. At Fleet Farm, at 920 East U.S. Highway 61, there will be a Toys for Winona Kids drop off to donate new, unwrapped toys for local children in need, and participants may write Christmas notes to area kids. Look for the symbol. Look for a volunteer in front with the donation bin.
7. At Winona Habitat Restore, 900 West Third Street, our service for this location is to donate building supplies such as sheets of oriented strand board (OSB), two-by-fours, or a box of nails or screws. There will be a donation trailer to place items in. Please limit people to one at a time to place item/s in the trailer. Roll down your window and a volunteer will give you a shim to write your name and a well wish on, then place in a donation box as you leave. They will present these shims to the local family they have selected for a home in the spring of 2021, then these shims will be used as they build the house. Financial donations and cards may be placed in the donation box with the volunteer, as well.
8. There’s a little chapel with the full nativity to drive by at 120 Pleasant Hill Drive in Winona. Roll your window down for a few minutes and enjoy the Christmas music.
We are so grateful for all the volunteers from several area churches, businesses and service organizations that have made this safe event possible. If you do not wish to make any donations, feel free to just drive through to each symbol.