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Police seek partners for Farmington's Toys for Town drive

With Farmington’s annual Toys for Town gift drive kicking off in just a week or so, police chief Brian Lindquist is looking for a little help from community businesses.

For years, Lindquist has used the same list of drop-off sites around the community as locations for people to drop off unwrapped toys for Toys for Town. Then, in the days before the wrapping and distribution, someone from the police department has gone to all of those locations to collect the toys.

In the past couple of years, he’s gotten a few requests from business owners around the community who want to be added to the drop-off site list. It seems there are more businesses interested in participating as a drop-off sites than Lindquist has boxes to be used for the toy collection.

What’s more, he used to have a community service officer on staff who was able to pick up all of the donated toys. Funding for a CSO is no longer in the city’s budget, which means Lindquist has to find the time to get around and pick up the donations.

So this year, he’s hoping to partner with the business community a bit.

First, he’s replacing the collection boxes with large, collapsible bags. He’s got more of these bags available than the boxes, so any business that is interested in participating as a drop-off site is invited to contact the police department and sign up to be considered as a drop-off location. The bags will be dropped off when Lindquist assembles the final drop-off site list, sometime in the next week to 10 days.

“We want to open it up a little more. If you want to be a drop-off site, we have these bags to go with now, which should make it much easier to pick up the toys,” he said.

But he’s hoping to take the partnership one step further. Lindquist is hoping the business partners will contact the police department when the bags are full, or even drop the toys off at the police department themselves.

“I’m looking to the business partners to help out, and call me when (the bags) are full so I don’t have to make unnecessary stops. It’s that relationship we’re trying to expand this year,” he said.

Another year

Meanwhile, the police department’s staff is getting ready for another year of Toys for Town. The staff is just starting to get names of families who are in need of assistance this year, Lindquist said.

Farmington High School students kicked off their annual toy drive to benefit Toys for Town on Monday. Wrapping and distribution of gifts is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 21, beginning at 9 a.m., at the high school.

Last year more than 200 kids from 90 families were served by Farmington’s Toys for Town program.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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