Mankato Toys for Tots collects record amount of toys

Updated: Dec. 23, 2019 at 10:05 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Mankato area Toys for Tots drive finished collections Thursday and volunteers are preparing to distribute gifts Saturday.

Volunteers throughout the area say they've exceeded their goals for collections this year.

It truly is the season of giving, and at St. Clair High School, it was evident as students prepared to move toy collections to the Minnesota National Guard Armory in Mankato.

“Our goal is about 1,600 toys and we got about 2,000. So we really went over this year. Every year we always surpass our goal, so every year we kind of try to make it a little higher, because last year was about 1,500 and we got about 1,800 toys,” says St. Clair High School Student Council Vice President Savannah Flugem.

Students at St. Clair took a specific focus on which toys they wanted to collect for donation.

“The junior class at our school goes to the armory and helps out. They sort the toys, they deliver them and they deliver them to the parents. So, we really see there isn’t a lot of teen stuff there which is what our focus is,” says Flugem.

With the toys collected and loaded up, they were soon on their way to Mankato.

Volunteers at the distribution point say they estimate they've collected almost 40 percent more this year than the last.

“The Mankato and surrounding counties have just really turned out and are really giving from their heart more than their wallet. Some of the gifts we’ve seen are just outstanding for kids to receive and they wouldn’t receive these things if not for Toys for Tots,” says Mankato Toys for Tots Assistant Coordinator Jim Hammock.

The volunteers stayed busy organizing the toy collections throughout most of the day and then well into the evening.

“It takes a while to set up. We’ve been going since this morning and we’ll be going into the later hours this evening. It’s all worthwhile with all these volunteers and tomorrow we get to give away most all of this stuff,” says Hammock

Toys for Tots distribution began at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Mankato National Guard Armory.

Although official results are still being calculated, this year’s Toys for Tots campaign saw a record number of donations. Over 12,000 total toys were donated to the Toys for Tots program, an increase of over 40% when compared to the 2018 Toys for Tots drive.

Toys for Tots also served a record number of children this year. Over 3,200 children in the southern Minnesota region were given a gift by the Mankato Toys for Tots program.

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