The annual holiday drive for Toys for Tots has been a marked success. Planning for the most successful drive yet began in January of 2012 while publicity started in September. Over 60 barrels were placed in over 48 locations throughout Winona in October, and friends and neighbors graciously responded.
Approximately 360 families and 1,060 children were helped, and 3,500 toys were distributed before Christmas. The Hiawatha Valley Marines spent $9,455 at Winona business retailers. This total does not count the thousands of dollars Toys for Tots individual supporters and groups spent buying toys to go into the barrels scattered in businesses across our concerned community.
When the barrels were collected and toys placed in the Technical College, there were acres of toys, coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals and other surprises to place under Christmas trees, all awaiting distribution across the community.
Volunteers calling themselves the Christmas Toy Store sorted and inventoried the toys for specific genders and age groups, and managed the distribution to parents and children.
Last year’s (2011) totals for families served, kids receiving toys, and the number of toys were exceeded in 2012. This year’s numbers were higher because of more barrels, increased donations of toys, more hours in distribution and also the generous outpouring of individual contributions from friends of Toys for Tots.
Hiawatha Valley Marines looks forward to serving the outstanding generosity of Winona for Toys for Tots in 2013. Thank you Winona for your generosity! You made a Christmas merry for those kids who wouldn’t have had one.