Category Archives: Resources

On-campus food shelf aids students

A food shelf at Winona State University has become increasingly successful with the help of numerous university and community resources.

The Warrior Cupboard, located in the university’s Integrated Wellness Complex, began operations in fall 2017.

Kim Zeiher, academic advisor and student leadership coordinator for Winona State’s TRIO program and one of the minds behind the Warrior Cupboard, talked about the initial reason for starting the food shelf.

“There were people on campus who were reporting that they saw the challenges students were facing with regard to food insecurity and then how that, in turn, caused challenges to academic success,” Zeiher said.

Zeiher added students within the TRIO program, as well as across campus, were choosing to buy textbooks over food.

Before the Warrior Cupboard came to Winona State, Zeiher said she had already created a “mini” food shelf for students within the TRIO program.

“They see food as you make choices about and so it had to do with either eliminating meals out of the day or eating low-quality food with poor nutrition,” Zeiher said. “We were talking about, ‘Well, how do we solve that problem?’”

The TRIO food shelf became a temporary solution for students, so creators of the Warrior Cupboard could rally faculty and staff for a larger, long-term food shelf.

Director of Integrated Wellness and another mind behind the Warrior Cupboard, Kate Noelke, explained how the university got a better idea of how many students were in need of food.

“We did a survey in the spring of 2015 asking the Winona State student body who would utilize this service if we had it on campus, how would you utilize, what is the current situation of your financial needs, your security or insecurity with regards to food,” Noelke said. “What we got was up to 40 percent of our population of students have experienced food insecurity in the last month.”

Kate Noelke, director of integrated wellness at Winona State University, oversees the Warrior Cupboard student food shelf.

After the survey, Noelke, Zeiher and other faculty and staff members started campaigning for an on-campus food shelf.

Grant money was given by the WSU Foundation to create a space on campus for the Warrior Cupboard and with the help of the Vice President of Student Life and Development, Denise McDowell.

Noelke said it is important to note the Warrior Cupboard is only meant to “fill in the gaps” for students who are hungry. She said, however, she can help students who use the cupboard access services within the Winona community if they are in need of additional support.

The Warrior Cupboard’s primary partner outside the university is Winona Volunteer Services.

“We worked with Sandra Burke, who is the executive director at Winona Volunteer Services, to come up with the strategic plan and to identify the need and make sure that we still have that permanent connection for students who are coming and needing food here to get to Winona Volunteer Services if their needs are more severe than what the Warrior Cupboard can do,” Noelke said.

Noelke said Winona Volunteer Services is not the only resource that helps keep the Warrior Cupboard at Winona State.

She said through a social media, grassroots-style fundraiser close to $1,000 was raised and split between the Warrior Cupboard and Winona State’s on-campus garden, SEED Garden.

Noelke added Winona State students, faculty and staff, have contributed money and food to the shelf.

“We also have individual student clubs and organizations that will go and do a tabling event and say, ‘We’re collecting donations for the Warrior Cupboard.’ We might get $5 or we might get $50, but quite frankly, every dollar counts,” Noelke said.

Creators of the Warrior Cupboard have also worked with the WSU Foundation, so faculty and staff can contribute a percentage of their paycheck to the food shelf.

“There are several faculty emeritus and some staff and faculty on campus now that donate their actual earned income to this service every two weeks, which is pretty awesome,” Noelke said.

As of this month, Noelke added she is now able to purchase food for the Warrior Cupboard at a discounted price through Winona Volunteer Services. She said the WSU Foundation’s non-profit status helped make this possible for the Cupboard.

Noelke emphasized the Warrior Cupboard is not designed to provide students three meals a day, week after week. The goal is to “fill in the gaps” for hungry students and connect them with off-campus resources if they need further help.

The Warrior Cupboard still has some minor issues to work out, according to Noelke. She said she is certain the Cupboard’s team will figure these things out.

“We’re still getting our hands around what the actual need is because it may be that we continue as we have been,” Noelke said.

She said a small number of Winona State’s nearly 8,000 students use the service.

“Right now, we have 80 students who have access to this space,” Noelke said. “It may be within a year we have 1,000 students that need access to this space and then our fundraising efforts will have to reflect sort of how we support the amount of students that are taking advantage of the actual service.”

Noelke said despite having a few things to work out with the Warrior Cupboard, she is excited to watch it continue to grow.

“We have distributed 3,500 pounds of food and have donated, I think, close to $2,000 and this is individual donations,” Noelke said. “It’s been incredibly humbling, I think, to see this thing get up and running.”

Winona Home Medical Thrives in New Location

Since its opening in 2015, medical equipment retailer Winona Home Medical has risen to occupy the void left by Bourne Medical Service, a fellow equipment retailer which closed in July 2018.

Winona Home Medical sells equipment like CPAP machines, wheelchairs, physical therapy products and more, and has the added benefit of being across the street from its parent organization, Winona Health hospital and clinic.

In an open house celebrating their six-month anniversary at their new location, Winona Home Medical demonstrates a wide variety of goods and services that are constantly adapting to their customers’ and patients’ needs.

The business’s website says its staff includes a respiratory therapist with “more than 30 years of experience in home respiratory care, along with other caring experts who will make choosing and using home health products easy and enjoyable.”

As the only home medical equipment provider in the city, director of retail services Bill Cota says the business has been increasing what it has to offer.

“Once Bourne Medical went out of business last July, we really saw the need to expand and offer more products,” Cota said.

The business’s current location was purchased two years ago by Winona Health, but Cota said the hospital didn’t have any plans for the property until the closing of Bourne Medical.

“As the home medical equipment sales had obviously risen on a very consistent basis, it made the most sense for us to take over this location and continue to expand,” Cota said.

Before taking over the location formerly used by Wells Fargo bank, Winona Home Medical was stationed in the hospital in what Cota described as an exam room.

In the six months since opening in their new location, Cota said the business has been finalizing what the product line is going to look like, as well as changing certain elements to ensure their services are the best for their patients and customers.

Cota said he expects business to keep growing and adapting to their customers’ needs.

“It’s going to continue to grow,” Cota said. “Because every month or two we’re adding new products, adding new services. Both of those have obviously continued to make us steadily grow.”

Art Day supports sustainability, local efforts

By Sara Tiradossi

For many locals in Winona, creating a sustainable environment plays an important role in combating climate change.

Members of Winona Women for Healthy Communities have been active in addressing this contemporary concern.

On Saturday, April 15, members of the group held an art workshop at the Winona Arts Center, where attendees made art for a local version of the national People’s Climate March.

The march will occur Saturday, April 29, in downtown Winona and will bring attention to changes in climate.

Organizer of Arts Day and Winona Women for Healthy Communities member Mary Kaye Perrin said sustainability was the main theme of the art workshop.

Paint, brushes and watercolors were available for attendees to make posters, and decorate umbrellas as a way to show the abundance of rain that has occurred this year.

“People need to pay attention to the recent downpours of rain and flooding,” Perrin said.

According to Perrin, the march aims to make people more aware of the effects of global warming and reflect people’s concerns on the current regulations. This issue, she said, affects a community like Winona with flooding, loss of apple crops and loss of natural resources.

Through the march, the group will also support the Minnesota renewable energy goals and the progress being done toward them, Winona Women for Healthy Communities member Emilie Falc said.

In Winona, Falc said the group is trying to help locals continue to work on issues related to clean air, clean water and offer good jobs to encourage healthier communities.

“We don’t want to lose momentum toward those sustainability goals and legislation that would reduce them,” Falc said. “ We would like for people in the community to come forward and to talk about what their needs are.”

The event at the Winona Arts Center gave attendees, both children and adults, a chance to show sustainable efforts while expressing their creativity.

Attendee Julian Kohner was painting a butterfly with yellow and green colors, and his mom was holding the brush with him.

The canvas, paints and umbrellas were supplied from donations, and most of them were recycled items, Falc said. The art center contributed to the initiative by providing the space for the workshop.

Falc said the expenses for the march are low and volunteers will provide the music and PA system.

Nancy Bachler, one of the art workshop attendees, was outlining the red and yellow paint for the poster “Sustainable Future Now” with Lynette Powers, another organizer and member of Winona Women for Healthy Communities.

Bachler said about 98 percent of all scientists agree climate change is a real threat to the world, and that is why people need to be concerned about such issues.

Sometimes people can show individual efforts by simply recycling and being aware of the changes in the environment that affect health, Bachler said. Water is being polluted, she said, and the air quality is not as clean as it used to be.

“There really is an important connection to health, wellbeing, and the earth,” Bachler said. “We are trying to help people make their own part, while having fun.”

Besides sustainability, Falc said another important theme is local effort.

“We want to celebrate what we are already doing in Winona,” Falc said.

According to Falc, Winona is involved in making sustainable choices and Winona County has recently shown its contribution by purchasing energy from the solar garden, a solar power plant whose electricity is shared by more than one household.

She added people will come together at the march to support not only solar energy and solar gardens, but also geothermal, and wind energy in the community as sustainable energy sources.

In terms of sustaining local foods, Falc said the group is involved with supporting community gardens, local and organic family farms, orchards and farmworkers.

“We want to make it easier for local growers to sell their foods,” Falc said.

Because the march will start next to the Mississippi River, participants were making fish kites to symbolize the creatures people share the river with. Other posters displayed pollinators and apple trees that are under threat because they cannot evolve quickly to adapt to changes in climate.

“We need to use our creative energies to come together as a community,” Falc said. “And inspire people to choose the resources we already have.”

Another attendee, Marv Camp, was bending over a table and coloring the letters for an “Earth Day” poster in red and green. Camp said he hopes to be part of the April 29 march.

“Seeing our current political scene, it’s great that we can make an impact in our small community and hopefully on a bigger level, too,” Camp said.

With a vision for a better and sustainable future in mind, Perrin said she encourages making better choices every day by choosing to bike, and walking for clearer air instead of driving.

To promote walking, she added the group will work to make safer streets and crossings and improve public transportation including evening and weekend busing and more routes.

On Saturday, April 29, Perrin said she hopes for a great attendance from the community and invites people to bring giant apples or suns, and decorate umbrellas, skateboards, bikes and posters to express their commitment to climate justice.

Perrin said, “This is our vision for a better future and a better world for our children, our grandchildren, and ourselves.”

Julian Kohner paints a butterfly with red and yellow colors to be used for People’s Climate March. Kohner attended Art Day on Saturday, April 15 at the Winona Arts Center.
Nelson Calabrese paints a butterfly with blue, red and yellow colors to be used for People’s Climate March. Calabrese attended Art Day on Saturday, April 15, at the Winona Arts Center.
Marv Camp colors the letters for the poster “Earth Day” to be used for People’s Climate March. Camp attended Art Day on Saturday, April 15 at the Winona Arts Center.
Nelson Calabrese decorates an umbrella with Winona Women for Healthy Communities member Mary Perrin. The art workshop provided paints, colors and decorations to make posters for People’s Climate March.
Winona Women for Healthy Communities member Lynette Powers outlines the red and yellow paint for the poster “Sustainable Future Now.” Powers attended Art Day on Saturday, April 15 at the Winona Arts Center.

Henry Perrin and Jenna Perrin paint a butterfly to be used for People’s Climate March. They attended Art Day on Saturday, April 15 at the Winona Arts Center.