AP NEWS

Big R has big heart

December 16, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY – When you think of Big R, you probably think of gardening, farming or outdoor activities, but for a few weeks anyway, the Michigan City store is all about toys.

“We received $2,000 from the corporate office to donate to a local charity, and decided to make it a big deal,” said Eddie Zajac, manager of the Big R at 4301 Franklin St. “We have teamed up with the Local Toys for Tots campaign.”

And when volunteers and Marines come to the store this weekend to pick up the toys the donation, that won’t be all they get.

“Big R is donating from the store, but we have also been seeking toy donations from customers,” he said. “We have collection boxes in the store.”

Zajac, who formerly worked for Big R in Illinois, where the family-owned chain is based, said they’ve “always tried to do a lot for Toys For Tots.”

So with the corporate donation and, hopefully, lots of charitable customers, he’s hoping to have a large haul of toys for the Marines when they come to the store Sunday afternoon.

And they’re off to a good start, with several boxes and shopping carts already filled with toys to be distributed to less-fortunate kids over the holidays.

And while Zajac and his staff have been working as Santa’s elves the last couple weeks, the big guy himself will also be at the store Sunday.

“Santa Claus will be in the store Sunday to join us for the very special pick-up,” Zajac said

“Santa will be here for all the kids from noon to 4 p.m., and parents or relatives can take pictures if they want. Santa loves pets, too.”

At some point that afternoon, “Toys For Tots volunteers will be stopping by to collect the donations, and there will even be a Marine officer on hand.”

Last year, Zajac said, the local Toys For Tots group collected about $14,000 worth of toys. This year, with Big R and its customers helping out, he hopes they can top that.

“I’m ex-Navy and we’re trying to do all that we can to make the Marines’ toy drive a success.”

—From staff reports

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