HELENA — The Helena Toys for Tots is gearing up for toy distribution this Christmas, but before all that can happen, they need storage for their toys. The State Of Montana loaned a storage unit from their State Surplus Lot to the Toys for Tots, a big addition for the organization.
“We have a 40-foot container already full, we have another temporary storage unit full,” explains Howard Mears, the Helena Toys for Tots Coordinator. “Right now, we have another pallet or two of toys waiting for us.”
Toys for Tots have already gathered over 12,000 toys. They have a goal of 25,000 toys to meet their expected 30-40% increase in need for families during the pandemic. They hope to meet this demand with a few fundraising events including November 28th, 2020, with a drive-thru toy drop-off event in the Shopko parking lot. Their business partners like Valley Hub have cancelled some fundraising events for Toys for Tots but continue to collect donations to meet the need.
“It’s more important than ever, because there are so many people not working, families are going to be more in need of help,” says Tamara Laib, owner of the Valley Hub. “We’ve got a great group of people that continue to help, in spite of having to be a little more inventive this year.”
Fundraising inventions include using donated bowling pins to decorate and sell (pictured above). Despite pandemic challenges like canceling their annual pool tournament, the Valley Hub and Libation Station have collected over $23,000 for Toys for Tots, the most collected than any other year. They are still selling decorated bowling pins and cookbooks.
The pandemic has changed the ways toys will be distributed this year. For that, Toys for Tots is asking for more volunteers to help with distribution.
The drive-thru toy drop-off, this Saturday, November 28th, 2020, will begin at 10:00 in the morning till 2:00 p.m. in the Shopko parking lot. Toys for Tots is asking to please donate unwrapped toys, but will also accept monetary donations.