Season of Giving: Toys for Tots


photo submitted by American Legion Post 77

American Legion Post 77 will be donating over $5,000 worth of toys to Toys for Tots

Editor’s Note: This is a series focused on needs and volunteering opportunities in the Owatonna community.

Something of highlighted importance during this time of year is giving back to the less fortunate. The holiday season can be a hard time for many families. Money can be tight, and the goal is to give everyone a possibility to enjoy the holiday season.

When the Toys for Tots season comes around, donation boxes begin being placed in various locations. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for the Toys for Tots program is a non-profit charity with the goal of to collecting new, unwrapped toys during the months of October, November, and December each year. Then they distribute the toys as christmas gifts to less fortunate children throughout communities across the country. The hope is that by giving a christmas gift to a child, it can give a message of hope that will assist them in their childhood.

Toys for Tots Owatonna has raised a lot of donations so far from various fundraisers. Brandon Noble from the American Legion Post 77 said, “A cookie auction was on Sunday November 19th and raised $5,885. We feel like it’s a great organization [Toys for Tots] that gets a variety of businesses and groups of people to come together with a common goal of making our community a better place.” While running around getting the perfect toy for someone, or those new boots for a best friend, it is important to keep in mind ways to help others. Buying a second baby doll to donate or going to fundraising events are easy ways to do so. Donating one of the hottest toys can easily bring a smile to a less fortunate family. Toys for Tots makes the children who would not usually be able to receive a fancy toy have the possibility too. Drop offs can be found throughout Owatonna at the public library, the food shelf and any churches in town.  People who are looking to donate can find local drop boxes around Owatonna by going to  


Toys for Tots donations are usually given to children up to the age of 12 years old, but can be extended for different circumstances. In Steele County, The ages range from 0-15. There is a process of submitting an application to receive toys here. If the parents/guardians are selected from the submitted applications, they may select toys for their children.The distribution will take place Dec. 14-16 at Trinity Lutheran Church of Owatonna.

Another option to aid Toys for Tots is by being a part of the group who helps the families pick out the toys. The volunteers walk around with the family, assisting with helping as they pick out the presents for their children. There’s also an option to be a part of the group who goes out with the money donated to the foundation to pick out gifts. If interested and would like to find information about how and when to volunteer, call Maryanne Higgins, Steele County Toys for Tots Volunteer Coordinator at 507-363-6911 or email her at [email protected].