Monday, July 28, 2014

Bremer Bank Meals for Many Campaign Donations Top $95,000

St. Paul, Minn. – July 25, 2014 - During the ninth annual Bremer Bank Meals for Many Campaign, the $2-for-$1 donation match up to $35,000, was met and exceeded once again. In total, approximately $96,000 was raised during the two-week campaign for Second Harvest Heartland, local Feeding America food banks and local food shelves. This total includes an additional $2,100 donated by Bremer as a result of a $1 donation per completion of an online hunger awareness quiz. Bremer’s total donation over the nine years of the campaign has reached $1.2 million.

During the campaign, Bremer employees across Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin also raised money by sponsoring bake sales, hosting cook-outs and coordinating food drives.

“We are always so proud to report the donation totals of our annual hunger awareness campaign,” said Pat Donovan, president and chief executive officer of Bremer Financial Corporation. “Last year, we surpassed the $1 million mark in total donations over the history of this campaign and we continue to watch that total grow. Our employees understand that hunger impacts all of us, including many neighbors in our own bank communities. Thank you to our employees, clients and communities that participated in this year’s campaign.”

Bremer Financial Corporation
Bremer Financial Corporation is a privately held, $8.7 billion regional financial services company jointly owned by the Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer employees. Founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer, the company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and provides a comprehensive range of banking, investment, trust and insurance products and services throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Clients include individuals and families, mid-sized corporations, small businesses, agribusinesses, nonprofits, and public and government entities. For more information, go to

A man with a plan

Gary Fitch will kick off his “Minnesota Miracle” walk to help end hunger in Minnesota at 10 a.m. Aug. 2 in International Falls.

By EMILY GEDDE Staff Writer, Ifalls Journal

His tennis shoes are laced up and Gary Fitch is ready to make a difference.

In two weeks, the retired mail carrier will set out on a 300-mile, 30-day walk from International Falls to St. Paul in an effort to end hunger in the state. He’s calling the initiative “Minnesota Miracle.”

“There are too many hungry kids in this state,” he said. “We need to take care of our own. We need to do something about it.”

And he intends to.

At 10 a.m. Aug. 2, Fitch will start his journey at the Bob Walls Memorial Union Hall and invites anyone and everyone to walk him for as long as they can.

“Even if people can walk the two miles to the city limits line of International Falls, that’d be amazing,” he said. “International Falls is the ‘if’ in Minnesota Miracle. If we can start off well, we can make this happen.”

Since the more than two years after the idea of Minnesota Miracle began, Fitch has partnered with Second Harvest Heartland, the largest hunger relief organization in the Upper Midwest, and he has also gained support from the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States. The effort has also gained support from the Koochiching Labor Assembly, which represents unions working in Koochiching County.

““It’s a grass roots labor movement,” he said.

Originally, the walk was set to begin in April, but to allow more time for Fitch to ramp up the behind-the-scenes effort, he moved the start date to Aug. 2. That way, the walk will conclude on Sept. 1 when he will join the labor parade at the Minnesota State Fair.

Fitch also revised his goal of raising $30 million “to something a little more realistic.”
“My goal now is $1.5 million,” he said. “That’s only one penny a mile from 285,000 union workers...That’s attainable. It would allow me to plug $60,000 to $70,000 into the 300 food shelves every year.”

So far, $30,000 has been raised towards the Minnesota Miracle Ending Hunger Fund. The fund, he explained, will be set up as an endowment to generate additional dollars off interest.

“The nest has been built, now I’m working on filling that nest,” he said. “Donated money will never be touched. That’s going to stay there. We’re just going to use the interest.”

Fitch is hopeful Minnesota Miracle generates enough attention to encourage people to donate and get out and walk with him to feed more mouths in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

“I may not be able to make the state hunger-free, but I’m just a little old 62-year-old guy,” he said. “I need everyone’s help.”

For more information on how to donate to Minnesota Miracle, visit