Cass County Toys for Tots drive seeks families in need

Published 9:47 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

CASS COUNTY – Boxes have been distributed to local businesses, but now a local charity is looking for families in need.

The Cass County Toys for Tots drive is hosting sign-ups for families who wish to be recipients of the gifts Nov. 13, Nov. 20 and Dec. 4 at locations in Cassopolis and Dowagiac, and the organization says it needs to find recipients for the toys.

“Only one family has signed up so far,” said Cass County Toys for Tots Coordinator Danielle Phillips, who took over the coordinating duties from parents Ken Lebeda and April Fester this year. “We definitely need to get people in to sign up.”

From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 4, families can sign up at the Cass District Library, 319 M-62, Cassopolis, or at the Dowagiac District Library, 211 Commercial St., Dowagiac. The Dowagiac library also will be hosting sign-ups from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 20. The Cassopolis VFW, 131 S. Broadway St., will host a sign-up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 20.

“Last year, numbers were down a little bit as well,” Phillips said. “But once we did the same sort of sign-up events, it wasn’t too bad. I’m hoping more people will come out this weekend and on weekends of the future. We definitely don’t want to miss a lot of people in need of toys.”

Families interesting in receiving gifts must have a valid Michigan license or identification showing current Cass County residence, as well as birth certificates or DHS paperwork for each child. Social security cards will not be accepted.

According to the organization’s website, there were more than 5,000 toys distributed to 986 children in Cass County. In addition to the many businesses hosting toy drop-off boxes, there will be toy drive events to support the event.

The first event is Nov. 20 at the Cassopolis VFW featuring pictures with Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additionally, the Dowagiac Fire Department will be hosting a pancake breakfast at the fire station, 302 Wolf St., Dowagiac, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 to benefit the toy drive. Children can come and take pictures with Santa. There will be no charge for entry, but monetary or toy gifts will be accepted.

The fire department also will be at Beckwith Park during the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce Christmas Open House Weekend from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13 to collect toys and cash donations.

Boxes have been delivered to many area businesses, including:

  • C. Wimberley Inc., 57333 M-51, Dowagiac
  • Tractor Supply, 56418 Pokagon St., Dowagiac
  • Family Fare, 56151 M-51, Dowagiac
  • Fit Stop Dowagiac, 201 S. Front St., Dowagiac
  • Ausra Equipment, 30155 Yaw St., Dowagiac
  • L.A.D.D. Inc., 300 Whitney St., Dowagiac
  • True’s Towing, 725 N. Front St., Dowagiac
  • Dollar General, 104 Park Place, Dowagiac
  • The Strand Brewery, 93415 County Road 690, Dowagiac
  • Sister Lakes Brewery, 92500 County Road 690, Dowagiac
  • TJ’s Sports Bar, 195 M-140, Watervliet
  • Hale’s True Value Hardware, 56216 M 51 S, Dowagiac
  • Dockside Dan’s, 94376 County Road 690, Dowagiac
  • Dowagiac City Hall, 241 S. Front St., Dowagiac
  • Dowagiac High School, 701 W. Prairie Ronde St.
  • Barry’s Automotive, 29034 M 62 W, Dowagiac
  • Cranky Hank’s 24992 Marcellus Hwy., Dowagiac
  • Honor Credit Union, 56337 M-51 S, Dowagiac
  • Family Dollar, 812 E. State St, Cassopolis
  • Pleasant View Church, 20290 M-60, Cassopolis
  • Cassopolis United Methodist Church, 209 S Rowland St, Cassopolis
  • Cass District Library, 319 M-62, Cassopolis
  • Woodlands Behavioral Healthcare Network, 960 M-60, Cassopolis
  • Cass County Courthouse, 60296 M-62, Cassopolis
  • Cass County Sheriff’s Department, 321 M-62, Cassopolis
  • Circle Federal Credit Union, 1050 E. State St, Cassopolis
  • Cass County Council on Aging, 60525 Decatur Rd, Cassopolis