Dodge County Toy Bank in its 54th year

November 18, 2018

Ric Fiegel grabbed bags of toys from Ed Lachendero, Carrie Bunker and Jim Hoth (on the ground) as they and many more loaded trucks for the Dodge County Toy Bank in 2016. Toys are transported each year from American Bank, 115 Front St., to Beaver Dam Middle School, 108 Fourth St., where they are unloaded and distributed to families.

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, the hectic holiday shopping season will soon be here. Adding another toy to your shopping list may be a simple way to spread some Christmas spirit.

The Dodge County Toy Bank, now in its 54th year, is once again collecting new toys and monetary donations for area children in need.

“One of the great things about the toy bank is it really brings the community together,” said DCTB Treasurer Patricia Frankenstein. “The support we receive at times is almost overwhelming — people are so generous this time of the year.”

The program started in 1965 with two bankers, D.H. Everman and Harvey Vorpahl. The two were able to provide presents for 100 children the first year. Everman’s family eventually took over the toy bank until 1996. It was kept going by a committee before American Bank took over 15 years ago.

Frankenstein said families that may qualify for the toy bank receive information in October through a variety of agencies that assist them. On an application the family indicates the names, ages, gender and toy ideas for their children.

Fundraising letters are sent to former donors and others within Dodge County. Donation boxes are placed in local businesses and other fundraising and community awareness efforts are undertaken.

The Dodge County Toy Bank is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, which has a steering committee of 12.

A group of volunteers looks at the ages of the children on the list and selects toys for each family. The toys are placed in a giant red bag at the bank and then transported to Beaver Dam Middle School, organized and made ready for pick-up.

Toy distribution is Dec. 8 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the school. Parents will receive their bag of toys and may select an extra toy of their choice for each child.

Last year, 1,035 children from 431 families received gifts from the toy bank.

Frankenstein has been a volunteer for 18 years and said she has a soft place in her hearts for children.

“I want to see them have a good Christmas,” she said. “There are a lot of families that may be able to provide the basics for their kids, but they don’t have the funds available to provide extras or toys for them. It’s really heartwarming to see people reach out and help.

“There are lots of ways to get involved. We have about 125 individuals that do something for the toy bank. Working together makes things happen.”

Donations are accepted throughout the year. Checks payable to the Dodge County Toy Bank can be dropped off at American Bank, or mailed to the bank at P.O. Box 438, Beaver Dam, WI 53916. New this year is an electronic portal by which people can donate. There is a donation link on the bank’s website at americanbankbd.com.

To find out more about the toy bank, visit dodgecountytoybank.com.

Update hourly