Santa has arrived: Toy Shops serving thousands of children across Twin Cities

Dec 16, 2022

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 5,300 local households are receiving toys for nearly 15,000 children now through Wednesday, Dec. 21. 

The toys are a blessing to people like Leeaja (pictured below), who is facing eviction after missing too much work due to illness and to care for her four kids, ages 1 to 11. 

“These toys help me because I can focus more on getting caught up on rent,” said Leeja, who works as a personal care attendant. “Thank you to the people who donated – it’s a big help to me and my kids. Without this, there wasn’t going to be a Christmas.” 

Another mother, Misty (pictured right), received toys for her two kids, ages 11 and 14. Misty is in the fight of her life right now, battling cancer and heart problems. She is unable to work and is receiving government assistance until she gets better. 

“These toys help make sure my kids have Christmas,” Misty said. “Thank you to everyone who gave.” 

Toy Shops are made possible not only by your donations, but by hundreds of kindhearted volunteers. That includes people like Katie Rough, who organized a team of 12 volunteers from Boston Scientific to serve at our Toy Shop in Spring Lake Park on Thursday. Together they spent the morning sorting toys, stuffing them into large red bags, and delivering them to families waiting inside their cars.

“This is something we really enjoy, so we keep coming back,” said Katie, who has organized Boston Scientific volunteers to serve at Toy Shops for the past seven years. “It’s a great opportunity to do something as a team that we don’t always get a chance to do.”

This year’s Toy Shops are being held at three churches – Emmanuel Christian Center in Spring Lake Park, Prince of Peace Church in Burnsville, and Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul. All three churches graciously agreed to host contactless, drive-through toy distributions. 

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 UnionWarners’ Stellian, and Minnesota National Guard. These and other gracious organizations recently dropped off truckloads of donated toys at our headquarters in Roseville (pictured).

It’s still not too late to donate toys. You can give online or drop off a new, unwrapped toy at Salvation Army headquarters in Roseville, 2445 Prior Ave. N., now through Dec. 20. The Salvation Army will distribute more toys Dec. 21 at our Maplewood location for families who missed their original Toy Shop appointment.

The Salvation Army thanks every donor, volunteer, church, and partner for making this year’s Toy Shops possible. 

“Because of their generosity, thousands of children and families will have hope this Christmas season,” said Lt. Col. Dan Jennings, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “May God bless you all.”

This holiday season, The Salvation Army is calling on all of our supporters to Love Beyond. #LoveBeyond is a national Salvation Army campaign that encourages people to put love above all else, in order to show families in need that love exists beyond their most difficult situations – be it hunger, overdue bills, eviction, addiction, and other hardships. Join us by giving a donation, signing up to volunteer, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle

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