GREAT FALLS — KRTV will be hosting its 14th annual "Day Of Giving" on Thursday, December 9, at Super One Foods from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The event helps collect items and donations for the Great Falls Community Food Bank, Salvation Army, and Toys For Tots.
With the help of longtime volunteer Jen Cowhick and moral support from unofficial mascots Clancy and Cooper, Marylou Brewster is busy preparing for another Toys for Tots distribution.
“We’re trying to get everything in, all of the boxes and the collected toys and what we have to shop for by the 10th, maybe the 13th, and then we call that 'Hell Week,'” said Brewster. “That’s when we start bagging toys for agencies, we help about 30 agencies.”
As of last week, the Great Falls warehouse had about 2,000 toys. But more will come in through the 50 to 60 boxes spread throughout north-central Montana.
Marylou hopes to distribute about 12,000 toys to kids ranging from newborns up to 18 years old.
“Everybody goes to 12, but we kind of thought those teenagers deserve something, too,” said Brewster. “They’re harder than heck to buy for but I just can’t imagine not giving them something.”
Marylou says monetary donations have been down the past couple years, most likely because Covid concerns caused cancellation of their silent auction fundraiser. But toy donations remain strong.
She’s amazed by the community’s generosity. And while organizing a toy drive of the magnitude is hard, it’s well worth the effort.
“People live payday to payday in Montana and if something happens and they don’t have money to buy Christmas toys or gifts for their kids, I think it's really important that we have a program like this,” said Brewster.
Marylou says that community support shows each year in the Day Of Giving for all of the non-profits involved.
“I think that with the Day Of Giving, people know that we’re going to be there,” said Brewster. “I think it’s probably one of the biggest events we do.”
If you can't make it to the Day Of Giving, you can send donations to Toys For Tots, 1120 Avenue C NW, Great Falls, 59404.