It started by collecting toys for the “Christmas Committee” of Anoka, MN and helped with their distribution. The Christmas Committee’s responsibility was to provide food for those in need during the Holiday. There are countless numbers of volunteers from churches, clubs and individuals that were involved with that task and challenges every year with required paper work, collection of donated food and organization of the actual distribution of gifts and food.
Association members soon realized that the number of gifts items collected were not sufficient to reach all the children of these families. They began raising funds to assist in this area through a variety of fundraisers, such as a golf tournament in the Spring, an annual auction in the fall, and parties, etc. in the various REALTOR® offices.
Association members go on a “shopping day” to purchase toys and gift items from local retailers. Tens of thousand of dollars are raised and used during this shopping spree to brighten the lives of children up to the age of 18. Toys and food are also collected from various area businesses that are supplied with a collection barrel/box. Several school districts in the Anoka area, hold food drives & raise money, with many of the students assisting with sorting of gifts and boxing of food in preparation for this distribution.
Each year, Toys For Joy has touched the lives of well over 1000 families with approximately 4000 children. All of these efforts lead to the primary purpose and activity of Toys For Joy, that being the annual Christmas distribution event that takes place at the Anoka Armory at 408 Main Street, Anoka, MN in December. The National Guard generously donates the Armory building for use in a controlled distribution of donations.
All money raised through the Toys For Joy program stays in Anoka County and there are no overhead costs to this program as it operates as a part of the St. Paul Area Association of REALTORS® with services volunteered and materials either donated or loaned to the organization.