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Helping children have happier holidays in Willmar

The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots held a drive-thru toy distribution for those receiving toys for their little ones outside the Uptown Willmar mall.

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Ron Felt of the Willmar Salvation Army hands Ramon Ramirez wrapping paper and toy donations through the car window at the Salvation Army Toys for Tots drive-thru distribution on Monday at Uptown Willmar mall. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The annual Toys for Tots drive held in collaboration with the Willmar Salvation Army became a literal drive for those receiving gifts for children this year. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the toy distribution will be held drive-thru style throughout the week outside the Uptown Willmar mall.

This year, around $100,000 worth of toys were donated and about 250 families will receive the donations, according to Auxiliary Captain Ron Felt of the Willmar Salvation Army.

Families and guardians were able to request toys for their children several weeks prior to the distribution and were asked to head to the mall this week to receive the donations.

Typically, families would be able to pick out gifts for their own children, but due to COVID-19, the organizers had to limit contact. All toy donations were individually bagged and packaged as a coronavirus safety precaution.

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Erica Dischino is a photojournalist for the West Central Tribune and Forum News Service. She grew up in northern New Jersey and has lived in the Midwest since 2017. She enjoys photographing the stories of west central Minnesota from county fairs, parades and pandemics. Feel free to contact her at edischino@wctrib.com or 320-894-8865 with your best photo ideas.
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