It could be difficult to determine who is more excited, the children receiving the toys at Christmas or the children who help to gather them. This year’s Morris Area Women of Today Christmas Toy Shoppe and Wish Tree are once again underway and they have enlisted the help of the Morris Area High School Personal Finance Class. After a one year absence due to Covid, the students will be “stuffing the bus” with toys and a lot of enthusiasm on December 15.
The Toy Shoppe and Wish Tree recipients will be children in Stevens County from birth to age eighteen. The goal of the Toy Shoppe is to provide a gift for children who might otherwise not have a Christmas. In addition to the toys, each child will receive stocking stuffers, hats and mittens. Each family will receive a board game to promote family night and at least one quilt or blanket.
The students in Jenny Maras’ class are learning about giving in the community. In the giving unit from their Personal Finance Class they learn about ways to help a community through giving. The students are excited to be involved with this community project and feel that it will inspire them to do more of this in the future. Avery Frank, Bobbi Wohlers, Kailey Walton and Bailey Walton discussed the plans for before, during and after the December 15 event.
The role that the students will be taking is to contact area businesses and ask if they are interested in having a donation box on site or if they would like to donate in a different way. The students will then put up signs to get the word out to the public about the donation sites. They estimate that there are about 50-60 businesses who have agreed to have a donation box. Very few businesses did not agree with most of them saying it was due to not having a great deal of public traffic.
They then delivered the boxes to each site. On December 15, the students will load five buses nick-named Rudolph, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen. They will divide the sites and five students aboard each bus will pick up the donated toys at their sites, thus “stuffing the bus.”
The toys will be taken to the Morris American Legion where they will be sorted by age group, gender, type and other guidelines. The students will be setting up the tables in preparation for the drop off. Once the sorting is done the role of the students is over but not the thrill of helping others.
During a private opening the parents of the families will be allowed to come in and select items for their children. The gifts are expected to go to over 350 children with 200 already registered. Registration forms can be picked up at Social Services or Someplace Safe Thrift Store. If you have any questions or concerns call Peggy Kill at 320-287-0597 and she can provide you with registration forms and information.
Along with the toy drive, the annual Wish Tree will be held. The goal of the Wish Tree is to provide each child with at least one new article of clothing. People adopt a child/tag off a tree and purchase clothes for that child. Tags can be picked up at Twisted Ivy, Pizza Ranch, Fireside, Inherit Clothing, Stevens County CourtHouse, Heartland Motors, Hands for Health and Zion Lutheran Church. All items must be dropped off at Twisted Ivy by December 15.
Blankets, quilts, mittens, hats and scarves are also needed. Gifts for teenage kids can include things such as car care kits, hair straighteners or curling irons and of course hunting and fishing things. Books are also encouraged for all age groups.
The Toy Shoppe and Wish Tree are great ways to help while also helping your children learn more about giving. You can make it a family event, simply add one extra toy to your list or even get a group to make donations. You can make Christmas happy for many children by helping Morris Area students and the Morris Area Women of Today as they “stuff the bus” on December 15.