The holidays are right around the corner, and with the unexpected cancellation of “Toys For Tots,” Christmas was looking a little uncertain for some families in the Black Hills.
Here’s how some community members have stepped up to ensure kids and families have the Christmas they hope for.
District Director of Mission 22 and Black Hills Toy Drive Organizer Chris Cooper says the reason why they’re doing it is because there won’t be a Toys for Tots in the Black Hills this year.
“Myself and a few others in the community decided that we really wanted to make sure this happened,” Chris said. “It’s a much needed thing in the community. There’s a lot of kids in a lot of families that rely on it. And so we got together, brainstormed some ideas and go with smaller, local businesses and got the Black Hills Toy Drive started.”
Chris says they’ve reached out to a lot of businesses in the community and they have said they want to be drop-off locations and they want to make donations.
Anywhere in the Black Hills – like Belle Fourche, Deadwood, Hill City, Keystone, Lead, Spearfish and Sturgis – can be a drop-off locations. The towns can sign up to get toys as well.
“We’re not limiting this just to Pennington County, like Toys for Tots, then it’s open to anyone in the Black Hills who needs a toy,” said Chris.
Nick Rottum with Colt45 Entertainment says, “I want to make sure that every kid that wakes up on Christmas morning has a present under the tree. And that’s why we’ve always done the toy drive here at Robbinsdale Lounge and got hundreds of toys donated by the people that come in and patron this bar. So I love doing the toy drive. And it’s like I say, it’s all for the kids.”
Nick thinks the event being local has gotten everyone’s attention. He says more and more people are willing to help because it is a local event instead of a nationwide event.
“The support that we’ve had from this craze has been…I can’t even put into words the support we’ve gotten so far,” said Nick. “We’re getting a lot of kids who are going to be happy this year.”
Where and when can you drop off toys?
Toys will be collected until December 10, with distribution day on December 17 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Robbinsdale Lanes.
The main toy drop-off locations are Robbinsdale Lounge and Affiliated Mortgage in Rapid City.