Community Spotlight: Toys For Kids Holds First Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser As Need Increases
This year marks the 37th year a local program has been providing Christmas gifts to kids in the Crow Wing County area. Toys for Kids kicked off last weekend and held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser tonight to raise money for the program.
“What we do is we raise money and toys and then we work through the Salvation Army to distribute those toys,” said Kevin Goedker, a fundraiser coordinator.
Toys for Kids was founded in 1981 and has been providing Christmas gifts to local children who may not otherwise receive them ever since.
“We’ve got a high rate of people on assistance and on programs and we’ve even got families that struggle to meet those basic needs, even with both parents working, and need that extra help during the holiday season,” explained fundraiser coordinator Colleen Goedker.
The Salvation Army takes applications for the Toys for Kids program and has seen an increase in need every year. That is why the Marine Corps League decided to put on the spaghetti dinner fundraiser this year.
“We have more demand. It’s gone up and the toys are going up in price, so it takes us more money to accomplish our mission,” added Kevin Goedker.
The program has been coordinated by the Heartland Detachment of the Marine Corps League since the beginning.
“There’s a lot of kids out there that if we didn’t do something for them, they probably wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise,” said Steve Amerud, Toys For Kids Chairman for the Heartland Detachment of the Marine Corps League.
For the organizers, it is important to put in the work to make this program possible every holiday season.
“There’s a lot of people out there that are not able to buy the Christmas presents that they would like to for their children, and so this program really helps not only the parents but it really helps the children have hope and give them something to believe in themselves,” said Kevin Goedker.
The spaghetti dinner fundraiser was a huge success, and they hope that the momentum for Toys For Kids continues as Christmas approaches.
“We’re very, very happy with the turnout and support and people have been very generous about giving and bringing toys or doing a free-will donation and just coming together and socializing and visiting for a good cause,” added Colleen Goedker. “Helping the kids in our community.”
You can donate to the Toys for Kids program by mailing a tax-deductible monetary gift to Brainerd Community Action at 213 S. Fifth Street, Brainerd, MN 56401. Checks should be made payable to Toys For Kids.