Oh, oh! Food drive goes through the roof, Bruner goes on the roof


Merchants Bank Commercial Loan Officer Jim Bruner has earned a night on the roof of the historic downtown bank building located at 102 East Third Street.

When Bruner accepted the role of "Co-Chair" for the 15th Annual "10 Days of Giving" Food Drive, he wasn't quite sure what to expect.

A first-year Food Drive volunteer who relocated with his family from St. Cloud to Winona last spring, Bruner was simply committed to jumping into the project with both feet and challenging his co-workers to do their part. His challenge was for the Bank's employees to contribute at least 400 pounds of food and help the Food Drive surpass last year's record total of 80,000 pounds of food.

If that happened, Bruner promised, he would spend the night of the Bank's first payday in January by sleeping on the roof of the Bank.

Merchants Bank employees blew by Bruner's goal, contributing 185 pounds of actual food, and $1,297 in money. Using a calculation of two pounds of food for each dollar, the Bank's employee drive total was 2,779 pounds. The community total for this year was a record of nearly 90,000 pounds of food.

"I was really surprised at the way the whole community gets involved in this project," said Bruner, who has also spent his first year in Winona getting involved as a volunteer for the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, Winona Swim Club, Winona County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Family Services of Winona, Winona Area Catholic Schools, the Winona County EDA Exploratory Committee.

"This was a very rewarding experience. It's nice to see people rally around such an important project. People in this community really come together to help those in need."

For his efforts, Bruner said he would honor his commitment and sleep "upstairs," so to speak, on the night of Thursday, January 15.

Bruner's Co-Chair for the Food Drive was co-worker Sue Spiten, a Mortgage Operations Officer for the Bank. When she was asked how the other Merchants Bank employees feel about Bruner honoring his word, she said, "They hope it's really cold."


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