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Another busy year for Farmington's Toys for Town drive

Farmington residents can once again help wrap and deliver Christmas gifts through Farmington's Toys for Town drive. This year's wrapping event will take place Dec. 15 at Farmington High School.

With Black Friday coming up at the end of the week, Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist hopes local shoppers will add one extra gift to their shopping lists: a gift to donate to Toys for Town.

This year's toy drive for families in need is already up and running, because the annual toy distribution will come up faster than usual this year.

"We're going to do it on Dec. 15, which is a week earlier," Lindquist said. "The next Saturday was too close to Christmas."

In particular, this year, Lindquist was concerned many families would be out of town already, and fewer folks would be around to help if the wrapping and distribution was on Dec. 22. Considering the number of families he expects will need assistance again this year, Lindquist wants to know he'll have plenty of help.

The past two years, Farmington's Toys for Town drive has helped more than 90 families, and somewhere around 250 kids each year.

But the wrapping and distributing of gifts is a few weeks down the road yet. First they have to get the gifts, and they have to get families registered.

This year, a new phone number has been set up to register families who seek help through Toys for Town. The number, 651-280-6TOY (6869), will only be used to register families for Toys for Town. Callers should leave a message with a phone number. A volunteer will return the calls. The volunteers will be trusted senior citizens who are active with Rambling River Center.

But getting enough toys and donations is always a challenge. The Farmington High School Tiger Leadership Club helps out by throwing several fundraising events over the weeks leading up to the wrapping and distribution day, but it takes about $10,000 and a whole bunch of donations to provide enough for everyone on the list.

"I'm going to assume this year is similar to last year. Last year we had a phenomenal push in the last week. It went crazy. I'm hoping to get about the same this year," Lindquist said.

Collection bins have already been placed at several Farmington businesses: Castle Rock Bank, Farmington City Hall, CVS Pharmacy, Dunn Bros., the Farmington Library, Farmington Veterinary Clinic, Hadler Chiropractic, Pam McCarthy-American Family Insurance, Pilot Knob Pizza, Farmington Police Department, Rambling River Center, RoundBank, Family Fresh Market, Tan Ambitions, Pellicci Hardware, Lillian's, Synergy Dance Studio, Anytime Fitness, and Dakota Lumber.

Wrapping and distribution will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Farmington High School. This is a change of location from the past years, which were held at Boeckman Middle School.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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