Winona Area Toys for Kids free toy distribution has been completed for this year. The good and the not so good news is that the organization helped about 300 families with 700 kids come to the toy store on December 15 at Tandeski Center. It’s good in that there are 700 Winona area kids who will have a happier holiday with the toys they receive. The not so good is the organization put a lot of effort and received a lot of assistance in to trying to make sure that those who felt they needed some help in providing a toy to their child knew about the program and came to take advantage of it, although there were fewer attendees this year. It is hoped this means there are fewer families that needed some help this year and not that the word didn’t get out to them all.
While the donations started very slowly at the beginning of the campaign they ended up making up for the slow start. Once the public and organizations became aware of the concern they responded by redoubling the contributions. Year after year the community provides amazing support to Winona Area Toys for Kids and those in the area who need a little help.
Highlighted are just a few among the many organizations that support the efforts:
• Winona Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) held its ninth annual Toys and Kids benefit and Christmas party, where a room full of toys was collected. This year, along with the toys they presented, was a check for $500 that was used to buy additional toys. Pictured are some of the toys and Dustin Dahl, of the VFW, presenting the check to Don Anderson of Winona Area Toys for Kids.
• Benchmark holds a basket raffle each year and uses the proceeds to support a local community effort. This year, it purchased toys with a value of $2,000 that were distributed at the toy store. Pictured are the toys and Benchmark employees and Winona Area Toys for Kids volunteers picking up the donation.
• The W Club at Winona Senior High School (WSHS) is headed by Kris Nibbelink, special education teacher at WSHS. Each year they seem to surpass the results they achieved in the prior year. The club holds fundraisers and uses those funds to buy toys for distribution at the toy store. This is a heartwarming example of the caring concern young people have for others in the community.
The Winona area communities have once again demonstrated that they are a part of a community that cares about and supports those who need a bit of help. The Winona Area Toys for Kids committee and those who are helped most sincerely thank you.