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Detroit Lakes Boys & Girls Club, Jaycees team with Menards to host free kids' Christmas shop for families in need

The Detroit Lakes Jaycees and Boys & Girls Club have joined forces with Menard's of Detroit Lakes to offer two days of Christmas shopping for kids, free of charge to those families that have no other options this holiday season. Gifts for children of all ages, from infants to teens, will be available while supplies last. Shopping hours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17 and 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Boys & Girls Club, 150 Richwood Road, Detroit Lakes.

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The Menards store in Detroit Lakes is hosting a holiday toy drive this month, with all donations received going to the local Boys & Girls Club, which will be hosting a Christmas Shop for Kids on Dec. 17-18. The Detroit Lakes Jaycees are also involved in this year's event, donating some of the funds for extra gifts to be purchased to fill specific needs. (Submitted photo)

The Christmas season is made to bring together friends and loved ones for all the caroling, cookie baking and celebrating that they can handle. But for many families, the joy of the holiday season is tempered by financial woes, as the budget doesn't quite stretch far enough to encompass filling the stockings over the fireplace and space under the tree with gifts.

For the past couple of years, the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes has been partnering with the local Menards store to bring back some of that holiday joy for families in need by offering a free Christmas Shop for Kids on Dec. 17.

"Last year, they (Menards) donated over 1,500 toys," said Alyssa Hoskins, marketing and communications director for the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes. "Those were distributed to 442 kids in the community."

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Several shopping carts filled with games and toys have been gathered by Menards employees during their toy drive, with all donations going to the local Boys & Girls Club and Jaycees for their annual Christmas Shop for Kids on Dec. 18-19 at the club. (Submitted photo)

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And this year, the Detroit Lakes Jaycees have joined in the fun as well, she added, by providing additional funds for purchasing gifts that are more appropriate for pre-teens and teenagers.

"Gifts for teens are something that there just never seems to be enough of," Hoskins said, adding that those who purchase the gifts at Menards tend to look for toys geared toward younger kids.

So how does it work? For the past few weeks, Menards has had a basket placed next to every cash register at the front of the store, filled to the brim with games and toys for kids of all ages, from infants on up.

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Menards employees have been enthusiastic about participating in this year's toy drive for the Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes. The toys will be gathered up and brought to the club for distribution to area families in need at a special Christmas Shop for Kids on Dec. 18-19. (Submitted photo)

The gifts are purchased by Menards customers, who select them directly off the store's shelves, purchase them and drop them off in the donation bins.

As a pile of toys is gathered, staff and volunteers from the Boys & Girls Club will bring a bus over to Menards and gather up the gifts to bring back to the club.

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Menards employees have been doing their part to gather toys for the Boys & Girls Club this month. The club will be hosting a free Christmas Shop for families in need to come pick up some holiday gifts for kids of all ages on Dec. 18-19. (Submitted photo)

"The team at Menards does this really, really well — all of the people at the front desk and the cash registers are excited to see us," Hoskins said, adding that the Menards employees "are part of everything," from choosing the toys to helping load them onto the bus and taking them to the club, where they are unloaded and stored until the Christmas Shop opens.

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Menards employees have been involved in all aspects of the collection process for this year's toy drive benefitting the Detroit Lakes Jaycees and Boys & Girls Club. All of the donations will be distributed during a special Christmas Shop for Kids on Dec. 18-19 at the Boys & Girls Club. (Submitted photo)

This year's Christmas Shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17, and 8:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18. People can come to the club at 150 Richwood Road at any time during those hours to pick up gifts for all the kids in the family, from infants on up to teenagers — while supplies last.

"There is a gift limit per child, depending on the number of donations received," Hoskins said, "but it is all completely free. We encourage families to use this opportunity — it's always the goal to reach as many kids as we can."

Once they arrive at the club, however, there are some basic courtesy rules to follow.

"A limited number of people will be allowed to shop at a time," Hoskins cautioned, asking that those who come to shop "be prepared to wait in line. Be patient, please."

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Social distancing and facial coverings are also encouraged, as a pandemic precaution. Call 218-847-5700, ext. 0, for more information, or check out the club's Facebook page (search @boysgirlsdl ) for updates on what's available at the Christmas Shop this year.

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