County wins Food Drive Competition over the City with check donation

Published 6:04 pm Friday, December 8, 2023

The employees of Mower County threw a curveball that caught the city of Austin off guard and it gave them a victory in the 31st annual Food Drive Competition.

The city changed the formula and raised the cash instead of food as they asked their employees to take a voluntary payroll deduction for the cause.

That move brought in a donation of $5,729.50 to the Salvation Army, while the county brought in approximately 831 pounds of food.

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After the city weighed its donations, the county revealed that the bags they had on their pallet were actually representing the dollar donations they had gathered.

“We generally have not been the winners in this competition so we thought about what would give us an edge,” said County Administrator Trish Harren Gjersik. “We polled our employees and asked them if they would be interested in a payroll deduction for the donation to the Food Drive and a lot of them said yes. We thought it would be better for the Salvation Army and better for us to go with money.”

Austin City Administrator Craig Clark said he was surprised by the cash donation from the county, and he was happy to see a lot of good done for those in need.

“I think the needs in our community are pretty well known,” Clark said. “It’s a friendly competition with the County that helps fill that need, and that’s great. The beneficiaries are the people that get the food assistance and we’re thinking of them in this holiday season.”

Over the last 30 years, the city and county have raised a combined 72,884 pounds of food.