Saint Mary’s ‘Gifts for Winona’ grateful for Winona’s generosity


From: Deb Nahrgang

On behalf of the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program

This year two precious little children slept in a car while we painstakingly tucked brand new bicycles in the back of their vehicle — careful not to ruin their Christmas surprises.

One senior exclaimed with joy that he was headed for the grocery store to buy some food with his new grocery card. Yet another quietly and emotionally walked out the door, tears in her eyes, after receiving a bag of gifts for her family.

Thousands of packages were wrapped with love this year for the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona community gift-giving program. Carload after carload overflowed with brightly colored paper and bags. Once again, we were overwhelmed by the anonymous generosity of this community, and we humbly thank you for graciously sharing your blessings.

The Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona program, in its 10th year, was once again able to provide gifts for our less fortunate neighbors because of you.

More than 1,600 individuals and families were helped this year, which is considerably higher than last year.

Though you never heard the abundant thank-yous and saw the genuine smiles, I hope you know how much the new toys, clothing and grocery gift cards you purchased mean to these families.

Because of you, these families have been given presents for their trees and hope in their hearts. For the 10th year in a row, our community has made sure that everyone who registered received something special for the holidays.

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 2012 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, Wells Fargo and Winona Volunteer Services;

• the many shoppers, wrappers, data-entry volunteers, sorters and organizers, including many Saint Mary’s 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;

• the Slaggie Family Foundation, Fleet Farm, Cornerstone Community Church, and Steve and Regina Craney for generous donations; and our friends at Cars & Credit who always make sure there are no tags left;

• 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 Valncia 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.


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