HCO_Cheryl and Sandy_web – Home & Community Options

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.

Their support for our agency goes far beyond their monetary donations. The greatest gift that Cheryl, Sandy, and their fellow Pez collectors have provided is opening their doors and hearts to HCO. Each year, they have invited HCO consumers and staff to attend their convention and have taken the time to learn about HCO’s mission to enable children and adults with developmental disabilities to live as full members of their communities. They have invited us to participate in a number of the weekend’s convention activities, such asplaying Pezgo (Pez Bingo), and they have shared their amazing candy dispenser collections, making Pez lovers out of many of us.

HCO continues to be humbled by Cheryl and Sandy’s support of HCO through Pez, and this year we were thrilled to honor Cheryl and Sandy Gardner-Ghionzoli with the Provider’s Network, Inc. Good Neighbor Award.

 

Thank you to Cheryl, Sandy, and all of our supporters in the community who hold HCO close to their hearts. It is because of each and every one of you that we can continue to change the lives of those we serve.