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Toys for Tots begins 30th Saginaw County campaign
Even though the economy in mid-Michigan is very slowly rebounding, many of Saginaw County’s families are still struggling to get by.
The Saginaw County Toys For Tots campaign is here to help those families to ensure all children have a present to unwrap Christmas morning.
The annual county drive will kick off Friday, November 27, from 6-11am at McDonald’s of Frankenmuth.
“It’s hard to believe that this year will be the 30th year that Frankenmuth will be involved in the Saginaw County, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys For Tots program,” McDonald’s of Frankenmuth owner/operator Tony Dnna said. “It’s not hard to believe that with the economy in its current situation, the need is greater than ever. Many families in Saginaw County will be facing a Christmas with less and less, if anything, under the Christmas tree.”
Joining in organizing the county drive are USMC League Coordinator Robin Heise and WHNN 96 FM morning radio personality Johnny Burke. All three men live in Frankenmuth. D'Anna and Burke have been at the ground level all 29 years.
“We are rolling and we’ll start shopping soon,” Dnna said.
In fact, the Frankenmuth Jaycees began their shopping at the Birch Run Meijer Tuesday evening, November 18.
The Frankenmuth School District and St. Lorenz Lutheran School students and parents also shopped November 18 at the Saginaw Meijer store on Tittabawassee Road.
Burke and morning personality sidekick Blondie will be broadcasting live at McDonald’s from 6am until 10am. The U.S. Marine Corps will lead a ceremonial flag raising at 8am in front of McDonald’s.
“I love seeing all the toys coming in on Friday . . . it makes a statement for what we are trying to do,” Dnna said. ut we certainly will not turn away cash and check donations.”
Three Men and a Tenor will also be providing musical entertainment in the morning.
Donations of toys and cash are already being accepted by Tony and his wife, Geri, with all donations staying in Saginaw County to ensure the county’s children, newborn to age 13, will have a new toy.
“The need never seems to go down,” Tony said. ut, it is really great to see the toy mountains grow.”
Last year, over $60,000 in toys and cash were contributed, with well over 50-percent of that total coming on kick off day.
During the kick off only, anyone bringing in a new, unwrapped toy or a cash donation of $5 or more will receive a free McDonald’s breakfast entrée. The drop box and donations may be made through Tuesday, December 23.
There are 12 drop boxes set out in the Frankenmuth-area businesses, with all toys collected now through Thanksgiving going to McDonald’s Friday morning. Later in the day, the toys are transported to a Saginaw-area warehouse until delivery.
“We’ve had many business owners call, asking if they can join us,” Tony said.
The Frankenmuth High School student body began its Penny Drive for Toys For Tots last Monday, November 16, and it will run until Monday, November 23. The FHS Student Council will bring a check to McDonald’s during the kick off. The FHS student body’s goal is to top last year’s total of more than $1,791.98.
Last week, FHS held five “pre-penny drive pushes” to increase the total. The students participated in a Prime Parking Raffle, a Lunch Line Fast Pass, Stall Day, Bend The Dress Code Day and a Pizza Party Raffle.
FHS Principal JoLynn Clark explained Stall Day.
“Stall Day is where students bring money in to the first hour teacher and the teacher has to count whatever is brought in prior to starting class. The students get a little extra time to chill and chat while the teacher counts the coins,” Clark explained.
Stall Day took place on Monday.
The second event is called �y the Dress Code Day” where for a $1 donation, students buy a sticker that allows them to wear comfortable pants/PJ pants and/or hats which are traditionally against the FHS dress code.
Dnna anticipates spending between $15,000 and $17,000 on toys that evening. He relies heavily on the older children 10-13 years of age, to choose gift items that children their age will love to receive Christmas Day.
Persons donating through checks should make them out to “Toys For Tots” and bring them to the Frankenmuth McDonald’s or mail them to: Frankenmuth McDonald’s, 495 North Franklin Street, Frankenmuth, MI 48734.
“In advance, we wish to extend our thanks from the children of Saginaw County for your help. We also extend CHRISTmas and New Year wishes from all of us involved in the Toys For Tots program and your friends at Frankenmuth McDonald’s,” Michael Anscomb said.
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