RED WING – Four local moms and small businesses honored educators during Teacher Appreciation Week – May 2 through 6 – by offering free meals, daily prizes and an after-school party.

“We wanted to give back to schools and show the teachers [some love],” mom and community member Megan Ramaker said.

A month ago, Ramaker and other moms Rachel McWithey, Mandy Mahn and Carrie Riester created the Red Wing Teacher Appreciation Committee after hearing that local principals were paying for an appreciation luncheon.

“With COVID, volunteer opportunities weren’t happening to reduce the amount of people in the schools,”  Ramaker. “[But] after connecting with one of the principals, [we wanted to help.]”

The appreciation committee started out by trying to raise $3,000 to cover lunch for all teachers but quickly realized they could do more.

“We got brainstorming and next thing you know, we raised $25,000 in donations, door prizes and services for our teachers at Sunnyside, Burnside, Twin Bluffs, the high school, Tower View and Colvill,” Ramaker said. “All the [sponsors] were so willing to donate and went above and beyond our expectations.”

Business donations include:

  • Lunch for all schools’ staff on May 5 from the St. James Hotel.

  • Doughnuts and cookies on May 3 by Hanisch Bakery and Coffee Shop.

  • Coffee bar on May 2 at each school by Caribou Coffee.

  • Appetizers and pizza on May 6 at Kelly’s Tap House Bar and Grill for an after school event.

  • Breakfast on May 2 provided by United Lutheran Church.

  • Five pontoon rentals as door prizes provided by River Valley Power and Sport of Red Wing.

  • Club tickets to a Minnesota Twins game sponsored by Mahn Family Funeral Home.

  • Three sets of Minnesota Vikings tickets as a prize by Plass Incorporated Industrial.

  • Photography session as a door prize provided by Maeta Grace Photography.

  • $20 gift cards for all teachers from Phileo Style. This was used in goodie bags filled with caramels, chocolate and a pen.

As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to a close, the committee hopes local educators feel loved and valued.

“Thank you teachers,” Ramaker said. “We appreciate you.”

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