2,441 Kids Receiving Christmas Gifts Thanks To Red Lake Toy Drive
“A lot of kids don’t get toys. You know, we live in a remote area, and some of the families don’t get that kind of money to buy stuff for their children, so we help out,” says Darrell Seki, Sr., the chairman of Red Lake Nation.
Red Lake Nation is making sure kids on the reservation and kids in the Duluth area have a merry Christmas with their annual toy drive. The toy drive was started back in 2011 after Toys For Tots stopped serving their area. This year, 2,441 kids will be getting toys. The total numbers clocked in at 621 for Redby kids, 455 for Ponemah kids, 842 for Red Lake kids, 396 for Little Rock kids and 127 for Duluth kids.
“The age group on this is serving 0 to 17 year olds,” says Mary Omen, the community coordinator for Red Lake.
Red Lake officials start collecting for the toy drive in October and send out more than 600 letters to area businesses and organizations. It takes a lot of volunteers and a lot of organization to get everything done.
“They get a list from the families from each district and how many kids are in their family also. So they gather the information and various people that are here in the programs will assist and go buy toys,” says Seki, Sr.
“It’s a lot of hours we’re away from our families and stuff, but it’s worth it to see all the kids get all the toys,” says Daniel Wells, the Redby Community Coordinator.
Everyone who participates really gets into the toy drive. There’s even a traveling trophy that goes to the organization that raised the most for the year. It’s gone to the Red Lake Hospital for the past few years, but this year, Red Lake Gaming Enterprises is in the lead to receive the trophy, which has raised exactly $24,620. The total amount raised for the toy drive this year was exactly $63,300 dollars as of December 19th. Volunteers say it’s all about making others happy.
Dianna Spears, a frequent Toy Drive volunteer, says, “It’s fun to see everybody in the community and especially the smiles on their faces.”
The distribution will go through Friday. Any leftover toys will be delivered to families who couldn’t make it to the distribution sites.
“It’s just from here, coming from the heart to help our youth so they can smile,” says Seki, Sr.
Donations for the toy drive are accepted throughout the entire year. Checks can be made payable to “Red Lake Nation Toy Drive”.