Toys from police shopping spree will again go to needy kids

  Flossmoor police officers before the start of
  their Toys for Tots shopping spree.
(Photos
  by Tom Houlihan/H-F Chronicle)
 
Flossmoor police officers, during their Monday pre-holiday shopping spree, got a peek inside Santa’s workshop.
 
Or at least the closest than any of us will ever get to it.
 
The officers were granted access to a holiday storage area at Flossmoor’s Meijer store. Shelves, six feet high, were lined with brightly colored toys, games, dolls and items sure to be at the top of wish lists to Santa.
 
  Sue Danaher and Dan
  Theisen look over toys
  during Monday's shopping
  trip at Meijer.

 
It’s the third straight year that officers have collected gifts for the Marine Reserve’s Toys for Tots program, a holiday donation entirely funded by Meijer.
 
Last year, many of the toys that were collected were for boys older than 10. This time around, a good percentage of the toys will go to younger girls. The officers also collected bikes for both boys and girls.
 
“Dolls and horses,” said Deputy Chief Tod Kamleiter as he filled his shopping cart in the storage area. “Lots of pink.”
 
There’s one other big difference between last year’s collection and Monday’s shopping spree. The officers gathered nearly three times as many toys as last year.
 
Sgt Clint Wagner, who once again organized the Toys for Tots collection, said that Meijer this year donated $5,000 for the shopping spree but also discounted all items by 20 percent.
 
Last year, Meijer donated $1,700.
 
  The 2 1/2 ton former Army
  troop transport truck will
  be used to transport items
  to the Toys for Tots
  collection depot.

 
Items collected through Toys for Tots will be distributed to less fortunate children in the Chicago metropolitan region. Interested persons can nominate families who need help by going to the Chicago Toys for Tots website.
 
The shopping spree was obviously a satisfying experience for the Flossmoor officers.
 
“Picking up a bunch of toys for kids who need them. That’s wonderful,” said Lisa Gordon, a 10-year patrol officer. “Any time we can help, we will.”
 
Sue Danaher, a community service officer, clearly enjoyed filling her basket with toys in the storeroom.
 
“They are going to be glad that I’m doing this,” she said. “I’m used to shopping for the little ones.”
 
Also new to this year’s collection is an antique military vehicle, a 2½-ton Army troop transport truck from the 1970s. The truck was parked at the west entrance of the Meijer store.
 
Joseph Werner, of Veterans Garage in Posen, offered to transport the gifts to Toys for Tots. They will be stored at the garage until the Toys for Tots collection day on Dec. 17.
 
Veterans Garage is a not-for-profit organization that restores military vehicles. Werner said he owns 11 former military vehicles. The owners of about 50 former military vehicles routinely use the garage’s services, he said.
 
Werner said Wagner contacted him about transporting the toys to the Chicago collection site.
 
“I told him we were happy to do it,” Werner said.
 
There are two registered Toys for Tots drop-off centers in Flossmoor: at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 1056 Sterling Ave., and at Edward Jones financial advisor Kevin Kaminski’s office at 19879 Kedzie Ave.

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