OELWEIN — When Christmas movies started airing on TV in October, a lot of us groaned “too soon!” But for Hanna Boleyn of Oelwein, one particular movie tugged at her heart and sent her mind into motion on a project to help local kids.
“The Polar Express is one of my favorite Christmas movies and in it, a little boy wonders if Santa really has time for him,” Hanna said. “It got me thinking about how Christmas is the best of seasons for me and always a happy time for me. It breaks my heart that it is the worst time of year for some families. I want to do what I can to change that for as many as I can this year.”
So, Hanna came up with the Oelwein Christmas Toy Drive 2020. Persons looking to do something charitable for the holiday season need look no further than the big red bins. The red bins will be at drop off locations in the lobbies of the Williams Wellness Center, Oelwein Police Department and Oelwein High School.
The big red bins represent the Oelwein Christmas Toy Drive 2020, sponsored by Hanna Boleyn, the City of Oelwein, Williams Wellness Center, Oelwein Police Department, Oelwein High School, Northeast Iowa Community Action, and the Oelwein Community Kitchen Cupboard.
The locations will be accepting new unwrapped toys and books for children ages birth to 16 years old.
Sponsors are asking area residents who have a little extra to help bring joy and happiness to others in the community in this time of need. The goal is to collect 100 toys.
In addition, if any residents have or know of a family in need of help this season, please contact Northeast Iowa Community Action, 319-283-2510.
OPD 1st Lt. David Niedert said the department is happy to host one of the red bins and already has some items in it, even though the toy drive just got started on Monday, Nov. 16. Niedert says Oelwein officers are always open for a little competition and hope their red bin is overflowing soon. Officers in the department are also conducting their own charitable donating with a beard-growing event. Officers can “purchase” a “beard permit” and will be allowed to grow beards for the month, with all permit money going to Community Action to assist families.
“I think it’s really important to remember to see the season through a child’s eyes,” Hanna said. “There are a lot of bigger fundraisers to donate to, but I wanted to do something that I knew was going to help kids in my hometown. Hopefully, the end of the year will be a little better that it started.”