Continued giving, including a $10,000 gift from Merchants Bank and a $20,000 gift from an anonymous donor, have pushed Merchants Bank’s “10 Days of Giving” over a quarter of a million pounds. The final total for the food drive has reached 250,536 pounds.
“I’m in awe, It kept coming and coming with people dropping off a check or some food,” said Sandra Burke, the Executive Director at Winona Volunteer Services. “We can celebrate the holidays knowing people are being taken care of.”
The final totals include $103,821 in cash and 42,894 pounds of food. For purposes of the calculation, each dollar is counted as two pounds of food. Because of its buying power, Volunteer Services is often able to do much better than two pounds of food for every dollar.
The total eclipses last year’s record of 175,281 pounds by almost 43 percent. During the kickoff news conference on December 1, Winona Mayor Jerry Miller said that the community should set a goal of beating the record by 40 percent because the need was that much greater than in 2008.
“This is a tremendous community accomplishment, and everyone should be proud of what they did to make this happen,” said Rod Nelson, President of Merchants Bank – Winona. “This level of generosity is overwhelming and inspiring.”
An anonymous $10,000 gift kicked of the campaign on December 1. With this year’s contributions, the 21-year total for the “10 Days of Giving” stands at 1,512,317 pounds. While Merchants Bank provides the leadership and volunteer coordination for the annual Food Drive, the Bank’s partners – 32 area schools and daycares, more than 150 partnering businesses (almost twice as many as in 2005) and many community members – are the ones who bring in the food.
All contributions of food and cash have been forwarded to the Food Shelf programs operated for Winona County by Winona Volunteer Services and the Southeastern Minnesota Rural Education & Resource Center in St. Charles.