Here comes Santa Claus: Toy Shops serving 13,500 kids this week
Right now, your donations to The Salvation Army are providing new toys for thousands of children all over the Twin Cities.
The Salvation Army this week kicked off our local Toy Shop distributions (see photos), where preregistered parents from about 5,000 local households are receiving toys for more than 13,500 children.
The toys are a blessing for people like Jonathan (pictured), a St. Paul resident with two young daughters – Tiffany, 3, and Viola, 1. He recently took a job installing office furniture after his hours were cut from his previous job in construction. During this transition, money has been tight.
“I appreciate this helping hand," Jonathan said. "Now we can put something under the tree for my kids so that they can wake up on Christmas morning with a smile on their face. The Salvation Army goes above and beyond.”
New this year: For the first time since 2019, Toy Shop guests can pick out their own toys instead of driving up and receiving toys from volunteers – a model used the past three years due to COVID-19.
Guests have been delighted by this year’s distribution model, including Tracey (pictured), a single mother who enjoyed the flexibility of “shopping” for toys.
“I like that I can come in and pick out gifts that I know my kids will like,” said Tracey, who picked out a football, Bluetooth speaker, Jenga game, and other gifts. “I really appreciate everybody donating toys to help make our Christmas extra special.”
This year’s Toy Shops are being held at three locations: Crosswinds Community Church in Stillwater, Friendship Academy of the Arts in Minneapolis, and Prince of Peace Church in Burnsville.
These Toy Shops have been made possible by hundreds of kindhearted volunteers, such as Lauren, who on Tuesday helped out at our Minneapolis Toy Shop with her coworkers from Presbyterian Homes. Together they spent the morning escorting parents as they picked out gifts for their kids.
“It’s amazing to be able to give back to the community,” Lauren said. “This is my first year volunteering here, and I already want to come back next year.”
Many of the donated toys were given through KSTP’s Stuff the Sleigh drive, which included toy drop-off locations at metro area HOM Furniture stores, SPIRE Credit Union, Warners’ Stellian, and the Minnesota National Guard. These and other gracious organizations recently dropped off truckloads of donated toys at our headquarters in Roseville (pictured).
The Salvation Army thanks every donor, volunteer, church, and partner for making this year’s Toy Shops a success.
“Because of their generosity, thousands of children and families will be happy on Christmas morning,” said Lt. Col. Randall Polsley, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “May God bless you all.”
It’s still not too late to donate toys. You can give online or drop off a new, unwrapped toy at The Salvation Army's headquarters in Roseville, 2445 Prior Ave. N.