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Heartland United Way helps families in need with Toys for Tots

Published: Dec. 21, 2020 at 10:35 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - More than 2,000 children will get to unwrap presents under that tree this year thanks to Heartland United Way’s annual Toys for Tots event.

This year in Grand Island the toy drive saw a large increase in people applying to be included and also a decrease in toy donations.

Heartland United Way said they were still able to pull the event together and give area children the Christmas toys and surprises they deserve this year.

“We were just so grateful we were able to do it,” Director of Community Engagement Cammie Benson told Local4 News. “We were a little nervous wouldn’t be able to provide this service this year so we’re just glad. We’re thankful for Fonner Park, for the marine and all the community members who donated toys and money because without them this wouldn’t have been possible this year.”

This was the 23rd year for this event. Each year they handout thousands of gifts for kids, but also presents for the families.

“When participants come, they get one toy per child within that age group. Then each child gets a stuffed animal and a stocking stuffer,” Benson said. “Then the family receives a book or puzzle, a board game and then some household items we get donated.”

For the first time this was a two day event to help limit the number of people at distribution. This was also the first year they started Project Undercover, which gave out socks and underwear for kids up to 12-years-old.

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