Cheryl and Sandy Gardner-Ghionzoli are two amazing community members that are tremendous friends and neighbors to Home and Community Options. Since 2014, they have spent time each year collecting, planning, and organizing for their yearly Pez collector’s convention, Pez on the River – a weekend full of fun activities for a group of wonderful people who come to Winona, make donations from all over the world, and proudly call themselves “Pezheads”. Each year’s convention culminates with a live auction, the proceeds of which have been donated to HCO.
Over the past 9 years, the Pez on the River convention has raised more than $31,000 for Home and Community Options. These funds have enabled our organization to grow a robust sensory library, a space where a large array of tools can be checked out. Items such as chewie tubes, weighted blankets, fidget balls, and specialized board games can help those we serve process sensory information like sounds and textures, or to build social interaction skills. These funds have also enabled individuals to participate in Grassroots Advocacy by offering opportunities for individuals at HCO to learn more about their federal, state, and local governments. They have funded bus trips to the Capitol, developed voter educational workshops, and provided opportunities for individuals to learn about the responsibilities that we have as MN citizens.