HELENA – Helena’s Toys for Tots program celebrated one of its biggest fundraisers of the year Saturday night.
For 21 years, the Valley Hub on North Montana Avenue has held a Christmas pool tournament to raise money for Toys for Tots. This year, 93 pool players paid $10 each to take part. The Valley Hub also raised money through a silent auction, a 50-50 drawing and a raffle with more than 100 prizes. Other businesses around the area contributed prizes and cash donations.
Owner Tammy Laib said she began fundraising for Toys for Tots in support of a friend whose husband served in the Marines.
“That first year we got $300,” she said. “It’s come a long way since then.”
Laib’s husband, Myron Laib, owns the Laib-ation Station on Lincoln Road. Last year, each of the Laibs’ businesses raised more than $12,000 for Toys for Tots.
Howard Mears, the Helena coordinator for Toys for Tots, said the Valley Hub has been the largest single contributor to the program since it came to Helena more than 40 years ago. Over the years, the Laibs have raised a total of more than $124,000.
“Without the cash donations that we receive from them, the kids would have a lot more barren Christmas,” he said. “They give such remarkable support to the Marine Toys for Tots program, and we do appreciate them a whole lot.”
Mears said, this year, Toys for Tots has already spent about $22,000 purchasing toys in the Helena area. The toys will be distributed to local kids on Dec. 15.
Tammy Laib said she’s proud to continue supporting those efforts.
“It brings joy to families that maybe wouldn’t have joy,” she said.
Toys for Tots will continue collecting toys at locations around the Helena area through Dec. 11. KTVH’s office at 100 W. Lyndale Ave. is one of the donation points.
Toys for Tots donation boxes will remain at some larger retailers through Christmas Eve. Mears said the toys they collect there will be kept for next year’s distribution.