BY TINA L. SCOTT
Merrill’s Fill the Gazebo event is back for the 10th year. The event, which began in 2013 as a means of addressing food insecurity in the area community, replaced the annual CROP Walk. The CROP Walk, while also addressing food insecurity, resulted in only 25 percent of those funds kept locally. Fill the Gazebo keeps 100 percent of the donations local. The food donations are divided between Merrill’s three food pantries–the Community Food Pantry, Trinity’s Open Hearts Food Pantry, and the New Testament His Hands Extended Food Pantry. In addition, other Merrill-area programs, including HAVEN, the MAC Home, St. Vincent de Paul Outreach Center, and the Food For Kids program, will also receive a portion of the proceeds.
This year’s Fill the Gazebo event will take place Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, from 9-11 a.m. in the gazebo at Normal Park.
Area residents are asked to bring non-perishable food donations, personal toiletries, paper products, and financial donations to the gazebo during this time for collection. Some churches and organizations may be collecting items in advance to bring to the greater, collective event.
New this year, the gazebo will be “filled” with information. Each of the above-mentioned non-profit organizations will be represented in the gazebo and provide visitors and donors with information about their mission and services.
In addition, everyone who comes to this year’s event can sign up to be entered into a drawing for a handmade quilt.
For more information, call Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church at 715.536.5813 or Fill the Gazebo Committee Chairperson, Cheryl Buck, at 715.297.3424.