Skip to main content

BP Toys for Tots campaign reaches all-time record of $20K

toys for tots, blooming prairie, 2022
Officials of the Steele County Toys for Tots program were in Blooming Prairie last Saturday to receive a check for this year’s donation of $20,131, an all-time high for Blooming Prairie. Staff photo by Howard Lestrud
Howard Lestrud, Contributing Writer

“It keeps growing and for that we are thankful,” says Steele County Toys for Tots volunteer George Walter.

“Our involvement has helped give kids from infant to 15 a chance to have a meaningful Christmas,” remarked J & H Liquors owners Harvey and Nancy Farr.

They are talking about Blooming Prairie’s Toys for Tots donation that grew to $20,131 this year and became an all-time high donation. Most of this year’s money came from donations to the BOB (Bikes of Blooming) Ride.

J & H Liquors has sponsored the BOB Ride for 23 years. This year’s ride was held on July 23. During that time, the efforts of the Farrs and the generosity of many Tots for Toys supporters has brightened Christmas for many.

Farr says funds raised totaled $185,000 for the 23 years the drive has been going in Blooming Prairie.

The first few years, the drive brought in only $6,000 to $7,000 in donations.

Don Overlie has been the coordinator of the Steele County Toys for Tots program. He said without a doubt Blooming Prairie’s drive tops all others in the county.

Volunteers and leaders of the Steele County drive have already started buying toys for youngsters.

Donation boxes will be placed throughout the county in late October, according to  Overlie.

The drive reaches 500 families, 2 1/2 kids per family.

Kids will be picking up toys the two weeks before Christmas.

“We just can’t get over the huge response from the BP area,” said Denise Guse, Toys for Tots financial representative.

Some of the other major contributions came from Federated Insurance, Fareway Foods, Fleet Farm, Target and Wal-Mart.

Because of COVID-19 the past two years has seen no shopping by parents for Toys for Tots.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Owatonna is a distribution center for all of Steele County.

The Marine Corps has been very active in the start of the Toys for Tots program. “I am a Marine and am proud that we service these people with needs,” said Walter, adding “the joy” is unbelievable.

Allina Hospitals generously donates bicycles to the Toys for Tots program in Steele County.

This year’s BOB Ride made stops at Bubba’s Bar & Grill in Glenville; Rusty’s Last Call in Osage, Iowa and at Mulligan’s in Mason City.

Sign up for News Alerts

Subscribe to news updates