‘Gifts for Winona’ grateful for Winona’s generosity


From: Deb Nahrgang

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

One gift recipient took the time to firmly embrace the hands of every volunteer in the room.

Another exclaimed, “God bless you all for all that you do,” as she was handed her bag of packages.

The “thank-yous” from this year’s Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona distributions were plentiful and heartfelt.

Yet, the many generous supporters of this community gift-giving program never see the excited children, never hear these “thank-yous” and never receive these handshakes. These are our program’s true heroes.

In the words of Pope Francis: “The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need …”

Because of the generosity that flows through this town, Saint Mary’s University’s Gifts for Winona program – now in its 12th year — is able to fulfill the wish lists of hundreds of children and seniors.

This year, the program helped each of the 1,550 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.

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 2014 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, the Winona Post, and Winona Volunteer Services;

• the many Saint Mary’s 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;

• Fleet Farm, Walmart and Cars & Credit for their generous donations;

• the Hiawatha Valley Marines for donating hundreds of new toys;

• the Winona Mall for allowing us to use their space for one of the gift distributions;

• every individual who took a tag off a tree or donated money;

• 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;

• Maurice’s for gift boxes and Fleet Farm for giant bags;

• 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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