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Foltz Trucking coordinates local toy drive

Foltz Trucking employee Wendy White (left) helps deliver toys for the first time, as Essentia Health employees get ready to wheel them up to the pediatric unit and emergency department. Every child who has to be “in-patient” or brought into the ER will receive a present. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam1 / 2
The Trucks and Toys event pulled in hundreds of toys for Essentia Health St. Mary’s and Becker and Mahnomen County Human Services this year. Foltz Trucking employees Wendy White and Tina Sharbonno (left) delivered the toys Tuesday to Essentia personnel Deb Steffl, Tammy Niehaus and Justin Rice (right). DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam2 / 2

They’re not as stealth as Santa, but area truckers are once again proving they are just as giving.

Foltz Trucking in Detroit Lakes teamed up with the Minnesota Truckers Association and other local businesses to deliver loads of toys to area girls and boys.

The Trucks and Toys event has been going on statewide for 15 years, and Foltz has taken the reigns for this area.

Every year after Halloween the “drive” begins, as truck drivers and staff of both Foltz Trucking and Daggett Truck Lines pool their money to buy hundreds of toys.

They are joined by employees of Lakeshirts, Minnesota Pollution Control, Pizza Hut and Turn In Poachers (TIP) as toys and donations pour into the drop site at Foltz.

“A lot of times the truckers and other employees will just give us money, and we’ll do a lot of the shopping for the toys,” said Tina Sharbonno of Foltz Trucking.

Sharbonno says they stop at both Becker County and Mahnomen County Human Services as well as Essentia Health St. Mary’s.

Beginning now and going through the holidays, all children admitted into the hospital either by the emergency room or into the medical surgical pediatric unit will receive a present.

“It can be scary for kids to come into the hospital, and so it’s just nice to be able to offer them something comforting,” said LeAnn Mouw, director of development and communications of Essentia Health St. Mary’s.

Nurses up at the pediatric unit say although the holidays are the worst time for a kids to be sick in the hospital, they love how they are able to see the eyes of the children light up and get big when they get their present.

“We try to get a variety of presents,” said Sharbonno. “We get bouncy balls and puzzles to get their minds off of an ER visit, to word puzzle books to teething toys for the younger ones.”

Sharbonno says although she doesn’t have a real good idea of how many toys they end up delivering, she knows it makes more than just the children feel good.

“Our guys have so much fun with it,” she said, “We had one husband and wife team where he was like, ‘Just give them money’, and she was like, ‘No way, I’m shopping for toys’”, said Sharbonno.

“This is my first year helping with this,” said Wendy White of Foltz Trucking, “and it’s a blast. It’s wonderful, and it’s gotten so big with so many people getting involved.”

Last year the Minnesota Trucking Association handed out 3,000 toys throughout the state.

“We appreciate the donation so much,” said Mouw, “and when we are able to give something to a child, it doesn’t need to be $100 or some big gift, just a meaningful little present, it goes such a long way with a child.”

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