A mini self storage business. A state penitentiary. The Salvation Army. A supermarket. A trash and recycling business. A newspaper agency. Put them together and these make for rather strange bedfellows.
But then, it’s not so strange when you know that Christmas is just around the corner. These businesses from Bismarck, North Dakota, are working together on a Christmas project that will benefit the needy children in their community.
These businesses are partnering with the Christmas Playpen, a non-profit organization that is run by the Salvation Army. The program is in its 25th year of giving toys to local needy children.
This program runs from now through November 29. Go Minis Moving and Portable Storage is donating the receptacles that will be used at the drop-off locations.
Members of the community can drop off new or gently used toys and bikes. There is a drop-off trailer at Dan’s Supermarket on 835 S. Washington Street. People can also drop off donations at the Salvation Army.
The following items will not be accepted: used stuffed animals, significantly broken toys, electronics, clothing, or fabric items.
Cash or check donations can be sent to Christmas Playpen, in care of Bobette Miller, Bismarck Tribune, P.O. Box 5516, Bismarck, N.D. 58506.
The toys will be distributed on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. December 17 through the December 27th.
Inmates from the Missouri River Correctional Center and the Dakota Women’s Correctional and Rehabilitation Center will clean and repair the donated toys and bicycles. (Bikes that will be too expensive to repair will be used for parts for other bikes.) They enjoy working on the donations and feel that this is one way to give back to the community.
Last year, the Christmas Playpen served about 550 children. This number was down from the previous year. Helen Winstryg from the Salvation Army hopes that they will be able to help more needy children this year. Even though the number of children served was lower, the Christmas Playpen was able to raise $5,200, which was the largest amount of money ever raised.
Low-income families can go to the Salvation Army to apply for the program.
Founded in 2002 by Bill Norris, Go Minis is headquartered in California. It is one of the fastest portable moving and storage company in North America. They have over 200 locations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
“Christmas Playpen underway.” Bismarck Tribune; 11 November 2013.