The spirit of giving was on full display today as the Ishpeming Salvation Army prepared for its Annual Toy Drop.
Three trucks hauling close to $15,000 worth of gifts brought smiles to the faces of nearly everyone involved. The program is only it’s third year, but with the help of the Negaunee Lions and the Ishpeming-Negaunee Rotary Club, the number of families that can be helped this Christmas has basically doubled.
“We used to do a children’s party. We’ve done that for a long time; thirty to forty kids would come. The attendance started to drop and the last number of years I was really kind of puzzled by that. I thought, ‘More lives could be impacted if we just did a huge toy drop,” noted Toy Drop Chair Kimme Peterson. “I took all that pizza money, all the toy money, and all that stuff, and started buying toys throughout year at closeout sale prices and the like to do this. Then, last year, after it was done, I asked the [Negaunee] Lions and other service clubs to get on board with me – ‘Let’s buy toys while their on blowout in January or February or whatever. Let’s store ’em. Let’s have a big truck brigade coming with all these toys for the Salvation Army.’ The [Negaunee] Lions were the first ones to take me up on that. I went out and got all the shopping done for them. They wrote me the check. I got the toys. We got them stored for them. They came today, took off the price tags, and loaded them up in their trucks to join our convoy. We had four trucks, where in the past we have only had one dump truck.”
All of the toys will be separated into age groups and packaged together to try and match each child’s wish list. Single adults and seniors in need will also be given gift bags to help them through the holiday season.
The giveaway is set for December 18th and 19th, but you can still lend your support all the way up through Christmas Eve by dropping off toys, turkeys, batteries or cash donations at any one of the Ishpeming Salvation Army drop off sites.
If you need a little help yourself, you can sign up on their late list by calling 486-8121.