From: Deb Nahrgang
On behalf of the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program
After picking up her family’s presents through the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program, a grandmother stopped to ask where she could direct a thank-you letter. Her beaming granddaughter had received the shoes she’d been wishing for — ones her grandmother said had been too expensive for their family’s budget.
One mother wrote that the Gifts for Winona program allows her to teach her children that Santa really does exist; she tells her children that God elicits Santa’s help in delivering gifts each Christmas.
And another mother explained that although there hadn’t been enough money for a tree this year, her children would still be able to enjoy their Christmas, thanks to the kindness of others.
They’re thank-yous that truly deserve to be passed along to the entire Winona-area community. It’s because of the generosity that flows through this town that Saint Mary’s University’s Gifts for Winona program – now in its 11th year — is able to fulfill the wish lists of hundreds of children and seniors.
This year the program helped each of the 1,465 individuals and families who registered, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Because of you, everyone received specially wrapped packages, but also the knowledge that someone truly cares.
Though the many people purchasing these gifts may never see the excited faces of the children or seniors receiving them, we are always inspired that the donations continue to flow abundantly, anonymously and caringly. We humbly thank you.
As we count our blessings for the past and upcoming years, we should also remember those less fortunate whose material blessings are a little harder to come by this year. We hope and pray that 2013 will have many wonderful things in store for these families.
The Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona volunteers extend an extra special thanks to all of you, including:
• the program’s additional partners, Winona Radio, Winona Post, and Winona Volunteer Services;
• the many SMU shoppers, wrappers, data-entry volunteers, sorters and organizers, including many students, who put in long hours without complaint;
• the many sponsoring businesses, schools, churches and organizations who helped groups of 10 or more;
• every individual who took a tag off a tree or donated money;
• Fleet Farm, Steve and Regina Craney, Walmart, Wells Fargo Bank, Merchants National Bank and Cars & Credit for their generous donations;
• the Winona Public Library, Walmart, the three Severson-Sinclair stations, the Winona Post and Security State Bank for sponsoring giving trees;
• referral agencies who provided support;
• the staff and patrons of the Valéncia Arts Center for allowing us to take over the building for one of the gift distributions, and Frances Passe at the Resource Center in St. Charles for helping to distribute gifts;
• and the area media for helping spread the word about this program.
We continue to be very blessed to be part of such a caring community.