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Bismarck Larks to host its first ever holiday toy drive

Submitted Photo The Bismarck Larks of the Northwoods League celebrated their Bismarck Pod Championship this past September. Coming up in December, the organization now looks to celebrate the spirit of giving by hosting a drive-thru toy drive at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Bismarck Larks baseball team, its sponsor North American Coal and the Salvation Army will be teaming up to collect donations in an effort to spread joy during the holiday season.

From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. that day, the Larks will be hosting a donation drive-thru at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark parking lot. Those interested in participating will be required to donate a toy, or monetary considerations, to the Salvation Army. Items collected will go to local families less fortunate who may not be able to afford gifts for the holidays.

The drive-thru parking lot will feature festive stations equipped with hot chocolate, candy, mistletoe, and other holiday-themed decorations. The toy drive will be designed with social distancing precautions in mind as participants will not need to exit their vehicles. Additionally, the first 500 guests will receive a limited-edition Larks scarf as a gift for their support. On Dec. 14 and 15, the gifts collected at the toy drive will be distributed to families at the Salvation Army location in Burleigh County.

Larks general manager John Bollinger states this is the first time the Northwoods League affiliate baseball club will be organizing a holiday toy drive. Bollinger says original plans to host the event had to be adjusted due to considerations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. “We wanted to put together a Winter Wonderland themed event for the community, but once COVID-19 hit, we were wondering whether or not it could actually happen,” Bollinger tells the Minot Daily News. “Then we came up with the idea of a drive-thru toy drive because with the economy the way it is right now, more and more families will probably need gifts for the holidays. In the past, we’ve done car washes and summer jersey auctions. It’s all about using the power of fun to get involved with the community.”

Having just completed its fourth year of operation, the Larks baseball team has 10 full-time employees, as well as 30 to 40 volunteers and season staff members who will be assisting with the toy drive. According to Bollinger, the main goal of the toy drive is to help spread joy and good will while many cope with the effects of a global pandemic. “There is so much uncertainty going on in the world today, now would be a great time to forget about those stresses for a little while and try to make a difference,” the general manager adds.

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