ISHPEMING - The Ishpeming Rotary Club dropped off a truckload of toys to the Ishpeming Salvation Army Friday for The Mining Journal Cheer Club, which collects presents for needy children who might otherwise not receive gifts under the Christmas tree.
The club donated toys valued at more than $7,500 - ranging from basketballs to footballs to Barbies to board games. The club also donated $1,760 to be used for perishable items such as turkeys, hams, butter and milk.
This is the second year the club has made a toy drop. Last year they donated about $3,200 worth of toys.
Kimme Peterson, in truck, along with other members of the Ishpeming Rotary Club, unloads more than $7,500 worth of toys donated to The Mining Journal Cheer Club. Donations can be dropped off until Dec. 14 at The Mining Journal offices in Marquette and Ishpeming, the Marquette and Ishpeming Salvation Army offices, the Marquette Township hall, ACE Hardware in Gwinn and Bell Hospital in Ishpeming. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
For about 40 years before the club starting donating toys, they threw a Christmas party. But Kimme Peterson, Ishpeming Rotary Club member and toy drop chairman, said Rotarians felt they can help more people through the toy drop.
"I believe that everything has a beginning and an ending and it seemed like the pizza party we were having kept dwindling," Peterson said. "We would invite 40 kids and maybe 10 would show up. So we feel that we can reach more lives by doing this toy drop."
According to Peterson, the club starts buying and collecting toys for the following year the day after they drop off the toys for the current year. He said between Christmas and New Year's last year, the Rotary had already collected $600 worth of toys for this year's drive.
"Members buy the toys whenever they go on sale and contribute their own money," Peterson said. "We also get pledges and donations from other businesses and people."
The toys that are bought throughout the year are stored by Peterson until they are ready to be dropped off, he said.
"We really appreciate the donation and everything (the club) does for us," said Liz Nevela of the Ishpeming Salvation Army. "We have a lot more needy people and families than last year and this donation will really help out a lot."
The number of families and individuals in need this holiday season has increased since last year. More than 7,800 people and 1,035 families are slated to receive help from the Marquette and Ishpeming Salvation armies, so donations are still needed.
Donations for The Mining Journal Cheer Club can be dropped off until Dec. 14 at The Mining Journal offices in Marquette and Ishpeming, the Marquette and Ishpeming Salvation Army offices, the Marquette Township hall, ACE Hardware in Gwinn and Bell Hospital in Ishpeming.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.