Todd Otto of the Belle Plaine Fire Department

Todd Otto of the Belle Plaine Fire Department handed Police Chief Tom Stolee a present from the back of a U-Haul which was fully loaded with donated toys Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.

Returning for its fifth year, the Belle Plaine Police Department’s annual toy drive will kick off on Nov. 25 and run through Dec. 13.

The drive, which last year provided toys and meals to over 60 families in  Belle Plaine and the surrounding area, has come together completely by donations from the Belle Plaine community.

Inspired by Belle Plaine police officer Mickey Semantel and Sgt. Brian Vycital, and run with the help of the Girl Scout Troop 34489, the police department toy drive aims to bring joy to families during the holiday season.

“As always, we appreciate the help of the community in this event each year, and we look forward to another great Christmas season,” a Belle Plaine Police Department release states.

Those wishing to donate can drop new unwrapped toys in the collection boxes set out in Belle Plaine schools, Coborns, Belle Plaine City Hall, and the police department. Cash donations to the police department have also been accepted in the past and go towards batteries to be sent with the toys distributed, as well as meal vouchers for families in need of assistance. Gift cards are also welcomed in order to meet the needs of children 13-17 years old.

Troop 34489 has decorated the collection boxes and each year aids with the distribution and collection of the toys.

Parents wishing to come and shop through the items collected are asked to  call the police department to schedule a shopping time at which point they can pick up toys for their children. Local families receive priority, but if supplies and demand allow, the department will facilitate the needs of those from out of town.

A notification will be sent out through the Belle Plaine school  system so families that might need help may be made aware of the program and how to sign up.

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