The annual Toys for Kids event has concluded with positive results again this year. We provided toys to 960 children from 317 families. This effort was aided by the help of a hard working group of volunteers who arranged for the placing of over 140 donation barrels, delivered and monitored them, collected the toys, helped purchase the toys from local businesses, sorted and arranged the toys, and staffed the Toy Store.

While the local businesses and organizations are too numerous to list here, I would like to mention only a few. Goodview Girl Scout Troop 44527 led by Jodi Blahnik used the money they earned form their cookie sale to buy toys donated to Toys for Kids. Peerless Chain again supplied donation barrels. Winona State students and Athletic Department and St. Mary’s Hockey Team and students were very supportive. Winona High School’s W Club made the Toys for Kids collection effort their project for the month producing a huge increase in participation from WAPS over precious years. Dahl Toyota, Dahl Chevrolet and Chrysler Winona held special promotions for the benefit of Toys for Kids. Steiny’s Bar again sponsored a dart tournament generating a lot of toys and cash donations. Minnesota State Southeast Technical and Community College made the Tandeski Center available for us to accumulate toys and hold the Toy Store as well as dedicated a semi-trailer to store barrels and supplies in addition to picking up and delivering toys and other help whenever we needed their help. SHOPKO, Wal-Mart and Fleet Farm provided grants for the purchase of toys again this year. Organizations such as St. Anne’s encouraged employees to donate toys by sponsoring competitions among departments to see who could out do the other. The Veterans of Foreign Wars brought a truckload of toys. Over all, these organizations and businesses donated more toys than ever before. Many individuals in the Winona area again were more than generous with their donations of toys and money.

Thank you, Winona area, for making this year another that Toys for Kids was able to make the season brighter and happier and a little less stressful for those in the area who need a little help.

Don Anderson
Winona Area Toys for Kids