Seven banks in Owatonna held a friendly competition that coincided with the recent Hometown Holiday Weekend to bring in food and money for the Steele County Food Shelf. Customers, employees and community members were invited to make donations to help fill the need that emerges at this time of year.

Ryan Gillespie with Bremer Bank told KRFO that Jannell Tufte of Profinium reached out to her with this idea. Both are regular participants in benefits for local charity organizations. The "Take it to the Bank" challenge was answered to the tune of 2,000 pounds and about $300 in donations at the participating banks. Community Bank Owatonna brought in the most and wins bragging rights for the year. Gillespie says they will look to expand the challenge next year with the hope of making an even bigger donation.

Gillespie was also involved in the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stop in Owatonna Tuesday as one of the local singers. She said the crowd was good despite the weather and said the area between Wenger and the Owatonna Bus Company creates a little bit of a windbreak. The stop was also a benefit for the local food shelf. CP made a $7,500 donation and spectators brought food and money to donate.

The holiday train stops in Owatonna every other year and Gillespie says the event seems to grow a little bit each time. She said fires helped warm people slightly, but that it was quite chilly.


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