Minot helps police stuff a vehicle

Minot Police Sgt. Paul Burns, right, and officer Heather Summers, along with Police Explorers Post member Emily McCabe, left, show some of the toys collected Sunday.

With the help of the community, Minot police officers collected enough toys to fill six squad vehicles for Community Action Partnership and the Salvation Army Sunday.

The toy drive was a first for the department, said Minot Police Sgt. Paul Burns, who coordinated the effort.

“It turned out to be a success – greater than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “It did so well that we had to bring in two more squad cars to Walmart.”

Officers started with two vehicles parked at Walmart and two at Kmart before needing to bring in the extra vehicles. Shoppers contributed to help fill the vehicles with toys for children in need this Christmas.

Burns said the toy drive is promoted by Fraternal Order of Police chapters around the country.

Minot Officer James Jabara sits behind the wheel of a police vehicle stuffed with toys. Submitted Photo

Collecting toys is nothing new for Minot firefighters, who plan to shop for the kids again this year on Dec. 12. The Minot Fire Department, Minot Rural Fire Department and an anonymous donor have come together to provide about $7,000 to purchase toys to be donated to Community Action.

In addition to the toy drives, Community Action is working with individuals, organizations and businesses to fill Christmas wish lists of the agency’s recent clients.

Community Action will be assembling Christmas baskets for the past year’s clients on Dec. 18. Community Action ensures that families receive a turkey and all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. The Souris River Basin Longbeards, an outdoors organization, is providing the turkeys again this year.

Willy Soderholm, executive director for Community Action, said the agency continues to accept donations.

“What we can always use is just monetary donations,” he said, noting financial donations can help cover last-minute unmet needs. “We have a lot of toys for the younger ones but the older ones, there’s always that gap.”

Rolette County Deputy Ann Millerbernd, a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Souris Valley Regional Lodge #7, with Minot Police Sgt. Paul Burns and Minot Police Senior Officer Aaron Moss accept toys from a couple of young donors at Walmart Sunday. Submitted Photo

People can designate donations toward toy purchases or food for the baskets. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to the Community Action Partnership office at 2020 8th Ave. SE, Minot, ND 58701.