By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN It’s obvious community matters to several Winsted business leaders, who will be initiating a food drive contest at each of their companies beginning Saturday, Oct. 1 through Friday, Oct. 14, as part of October’s “Hunger Awareness Month.”
It’s a collaborative effort to help support the McLeod County Emergency Food Shelf, which is currently in desperate need of food and other basic necessities. Area residents are welcome to participate.
The company that raises the most pounds of non-perishable food, diapers, and formula wins a traveling trophy inscribed with the company’s name, year, and pounds of food collected. It’s hoped that the food drive will become an annual event, and the trophy will reside with the winning company each year.
AWI Manufacturing, Millerbernd Systems, and Tetra Pak CPS, all Winsted stainless steel manufacturers, are the three businesses that will participate in the contest. K-Way Express has volunteered to transport the donations to the food shelf in Glencoe.
Dawn Galvan, who is on the McLeod County Emergency Food Shelf board, said the usage at the food shelf has risen 30 percent in the last two months.
“We are having to buy all of our food and depleting all of our resources, but with everyone’s help, we will be able to keep going,” Galvan said.
Galvan is helping out at the food shelf in the absence of long-time McLeod County Food Shelf Coordinator Marietta Neumann, who had a heart attack Sept. 15. Neumann is currently at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and is listed in stable condition.
Galvan said, that as of mid-July, the food shelf has given out 179,837 pounds of food to 1,793 households.
That is 400 more households than last year at the same time.
Galvan believes the higher statistics are the result of the “trickle down” effect of the state shutdown, and people who had to use credit to get through rough times. Even though they are back to work, they are still behind financially.
Also, seniors on a fixed income are finding it difficult to pay for prescription medication and still have money left over to buy food.
Food items suggested by Galvan are canned fruits, vegetables, soup, tuna, beef stew, Spam, SpaghettiOs; dry pasta, rice, and macaroni and cheese; also, baby foods, baby formula, and diapers.
The food drive contest was initiated by Tetra Pak’s Employee Club (committee), a group of employees established several years ago, who help organize and coordinate various events throughout the year.
The club’s suggested idea of having a food drive contest was quickly approved by Tetra Pak management.
“Tetra Pak is strongly committed to corporate social responsibility and it’s an integral part of our company’s culture,” Tetra Pak CPS General Manager Daniel Green said.
“This food drive allows us to support local persons who are in need, while providing an opportunity to interact with the community and other participating companies. We look forward to the event and hope it’s a true success.”
Tetra Pak challenged AWI Manufacturing and Millerbernd Systems to the food drive competition, the rules were reviewed, and the challenge was accepted.
The contest will last two weeks and will end at noon, Friday, Oct. 14. At that time, all of the donations will be weighed. Tetra Pak employees will assist with the weigh-in and record the total pounds.
Once the donations have been weighed, K-Way Express trucks will pick up the donations and transport them to the McLeod County Emergency Food Shelf in Glencoe.
The Knights of Columbus have also volunteered to be part of the effort, and will be in Glencoe to help unload the trucks at the food shelf.
According to the contest rules, each company’s employees, customers, and vendors are encouraged to bring in donations and will be included in the site’s total weight.
The general public is also welcome to take part; just pick one of the three companies in the contest, and drop donations off at the location indicated below.
AWI Manufacturing is located at 3902 230th St., along McLeod County Road 5, just west of the Winsted Airport.
Food donations can be dropped off at the main entrance lobby area.
For those who are new to Winsted, AWI Manufacturing is a second-generation family business that specializes in stainless steel fabrication for the food and dairy industry. It has expanded its services to include laser cutting. The company was established in 1970, by Art and Aggie Scherping.
AWI has provided quality products for companies throughout the US. The company currently employs about 55 people.
Millerbernd Systems is located at 330 6th St. S., just across from the Winsted water tower.
Anyone wishing to drop their donations off at Millerbernd Systems can leave them at the front office or the shipping and receiving office.
Millerbernd Systems is comprised of four divisions.
• Millerbernd Process Systems provides custom equipment process solutions to the food and dairy industries.
• Millerbernd Automation offers the latest in custom PLC-based control and automation systems to a diverse group of customers. In addition, Millerbernd offers UL508 control panel services.
• Millerbernd Laser is a unique combination of experience including fabrication, laser cutting, and robotic equipment which gives production versatility.
• Millerbernd Lighting has been providing custom fabrication solutions for more than seven decades.
Today they use cutting-edge engineering and manufacturing technologies to create intricate, yet cost-effective, conventional and stainless steel lighting fixtures.
Tetra Pak CPS
Tetra Pak CPS is located at 801 Kingsley St. S., at the southeast corner of Winsted, on McLeod County Road 9.
Donations are to be dropped off at the front desk, outside Bob Farmer’s office.
Tetra Pak was formerly known as CPS Scherping. Since 1968, the company has been a stainless steel equipment manufacturer for the food and dairy industry; a provider of custom manufacturing, patented cheese-making equipment, process piping, process control systems, engineering design, installation, start-up plant renovation and turn-key projects for cheese and dairy plants.
K-Way Express will not have a drop-off site for donations, but K-Way Express President/CEO Jim Koch, Vice President Jeff Koch, and Vice President Bruce Koch have volunteered their trucks to transport all of the food donations to the food shelf in Glencoe Oct. 14, after the winning business has been named.
“We feel this is a great cause and the food shelf is a much needed service,” Jim Koch said. “K-Way is always willing to help out with community needs and is very involved in the local organizations.”
K-Way Express, formerly Winsted Farm Equipment, was established in 1949, by Vern and Marietta Koch. The company is a family business which employs 50 to 55 full- and part-time employees.
Since 1975, both local and long-haul trucking have been the main business for this company.
K-Way Logistics was added in 2005, and provides brokerage service.
In 2006, K-Way purchased the old Dairi-Concepts Creamery building and added warehousing to its line of services.