Edit ModuleShow Tags

'Tis the Season to Support Toys for Tots


Published:

When I was in college, I worked one summer as a server at the Minnesota State Fair and became friends with Lee, a single mom who had two kids to support at home.

Despite the fact that we led very different lives, we instantly hit it off. I loved working my 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift with her, we teased one another, we joked around, we laughed so hard we sometimes cried. She was real and uncensored and wise to the world; I was a naïve college kid. I think she liked living vicariously through my college stories as much as I liked getting a glimpse into her world as a (very hardworking) young mom.

After one shift, we somehow got onto the subject of Christmas. I can’t remember how or why the holiday came up, but I’m sure I mentioned family traditions and maybe even joked about how hard it was to buy gifts for my picky boyfriend. I couldn’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t love the holiday.

Lee quietly told me that she hadn’t been able to afford gifts for her kids last year, and was working this second job (in August!) to put away some Christmas money. It was her goal, she said, to also pay it forward to another family in need.

She was barely scraping by last year, she said, and the organization Toys for Tots gave her “hope and dignity” during a really rough time in her life, allowing her children to have the kind of Christmas she would never have been able to provide on her own—one with gifts from Santa.

Lee and I lost touch, but that conversation stayed with me. I think about her every summer when I go to the State Fair, and every winter when the Toys for Tots drive revs up again.

You can make a donation to Toys for Tots at a drop-off site near you (sorted by zip code), by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to Cowboy Jack’s for a free ticket to the Minneapolis Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl this Saturday, December 21 from 6:30 to 11 p.m., or at the Running Aces Toys for Tots Poker Tournament December 21 at 4 p.m., with $20 of every buy-in—and 100 percent of every add-on—going to the toy drive.  You can also make a donation online, donate by mail, donate in memory or honor, donate a vehicle, or donate via ebay.

There’s still time to donate. Make it a Christmas to remember for a family in need.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

InterContinental Hotel Opens at MSP Airport

New lodging, restaurants, spa, gym, and skyway update the MSP Airport experience

Plan a Trip to Roanoke, Virginia

This East Coast visit comes with history, a burgeoning craft beer scene, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and more

Cannon Falls Wine & Art Fest

Taste Minnesota wines and ciders, browse through local art vendors, and eat delicious food at Cannon Falls Wine & Art Fest, July 21-22

Day Trip to Taylors Falls

A Taylors Falls day trip made up of beautiful river views and a classic malt shop.

Record Store on Wheels

Like a food truck, but for music—and debuting this Sunday at Open Streets Minneapolis

Green Thumb Gardens

The 2018 Hennepin County Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour flaunts its foliage July 14

Best Caves of Minnesota

Explore Minnesota’s man-made and natural curiosities this summer

Amble Over to Afton

While you’re in Afton for Selma’s, stay a while and check out the state parks, historic buildings, quaint downtown, and more

Take a Trip for (Frozen) Treats

Grab a scoop from the state’s oldest ice cream shop in Afton: Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour

Journeys: A Minnesotan’s Happy Place

Time wasted at the lake is time well spent

Journeys: The Start of Adventure

To prep for wilderness canoe trips, Les Voyageurs brings campers out on the Mississippi River

Top 5 Instagram Spots Along the Mississippi River

Bluffs, hiking trails, and waterfalls make for beautiful summer photos

Summer Sunburn Solutions

Six ways to beat the burn

Brews and Views at the Hopped Up Caribou Festival

There's no better place to tie the knot than at a craft beer festival, and if you're not into that, you can cliff climb, too
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags