Cornerstone and Mel’s Charities spread joy throughout Ozaukee County

Pictured are members of Mel’s Charities and Cornerstone Community Bank holding Bags of Joy that were given out. From left are Natalie Rohn and Michele Conrad of Cornerstone Community Bank; Tom “Mel” Stanton, Mel’s Charities’ executive director; Sonia DeBlaey of Cornerstone Community Bank; Ross Rintelman, Mel’s Charities’ board member/ambassador; Becki Schimpf and Christie Gutknecht of Cornerstone Community Bank and Ed Trygstad, Mel’s Charities’ board president.

As appeared in The News Graphic, January 10, 2023

GRAFTON — Cornerstone Community Bank partnered with Mel’s Charities to deliver over 70 “Bags of Joy” to individuals and families who needed a pick-me-up during the holiday season. Each bag contained approximately $500 in gift cards from area businesses.

“We purchased over $43,000 worth of gift cards from area businesses who have been long-time supporters of our mission,” said Tom “Mel” Stanton, executive director of Mel’s Charities. “Putting money back into our local communities is a way of saying thank you. What better way to end the year than spreading some joy?”

These businesses and local nonprofit organizations provided names of people who could use some extra joy this holiday season. The gift cards came from businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants. In addition to the gift cards, each “Bag of Joy” contained a gift box containing a Mel’s Charities hat, a Cornerstone Community Bank piggy keychain and a home-made card created by the Mel’s PIGment for a Cause arts group. “We were excited to partner with Mel’s Charities on this project,” said Becki Schimpf, marketing coordinator at Cornerstone Community Bank. “As a community bank, we believe in giving back. To ‘be the light’ to others during the holidays means so much and is truly heartwarming. Our employees also welcomed the opportunity to be part of ‘Bags of Joy’ and bringing an unexpected surprise to many.”

“Moving forward, we are going to give away Bags of Joy throughout the year,” Stanton said. “We realize people often need joy beyond the holiday season. We look forward to spreading happiness 12 months of the year where we can.”

For more information about Mel’s Charities, visit

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