Toys for Town in Farmington celebrated 30 years of giving this holiday season.
Just two days before Christmas, hundreds of volunteers and new families showed up to wrap toys for boys and girls inside a literal Santa's workshop set up inside Tiger Commons and Farmington High School on Saturday, Dec. 23.
Volunteers are given children's ages and have fun shopping inside a toy room set up with all kinds of children's toys appropriate for all ages from birth through teenage years.
After hearing about the community event from a co-worker, one mother, Alicia Gagner, decided to bring her two teenage girls and a friend to take part in the Toys for Town gift wrapping session. They all had fun selecting and gift wrapping toys for children. The team of young women selected a classic hula hoop and a pink My Little Kitty bicycle that surely made a young girl happy this Christmas.
Longtime Toys for Town volunteer Joe Tullar taught his young, bright-eyed son Aden the value of giving back. The two father and son team worked to load up a flatbed with wrapped toys and bags of holiday meal groceries. He said this annual event serves as good practice for his son who will spend years doing philanthropy work as a future Boys Scout.
This year the toy inventory was strong. The leftover toys will be donated to the Toys for Tots toy drive, according to Farmington Police Chief Brian Lindquist, the chief organizer.
Each year, local residents, leaders, businesses donate more than 1,000 toys, money and time to make sure local families' Christmas mornings are bright, Lindquist said.
Toys for Town is quite the efficient operation as thousands of toys are unloaded, gift wrapped and then loaded up to be delivered to local families before Christmas. In less than three hours, all the toys are loaded into cars, vans and then the gifts and groceries are delivered by Farmington police squad cars and a few show up in special deliveries by fire trucks that serve as backup to Santa's sleigh.
Lindquist thanked all the new and loyal volunteers who gave toys, groceries and time to make sure Christmases were bright for local families this holiday season. Unwrapped gifts were generously donated around town at the library, police stations, local businesses and schools in large toy drop off boxes.
Lindquist said he never worries that each year the Farmington community shows up. The community shows up with goodwill, gifts and groceries that all bring smiles to hundreds of children's faces and certainly must warm the hearts of families and perhaps even lessens the worry of some local needy parents.
"This is a mainstay and people are aware and understand the need, and we appreciate all who come to give and how the giving each year always makes me proud and restores my faith in humanity," Lindquist added.