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Local business collects more than 500 gifts for Toys for Tots campaign

Donations and fundraising are down for the holiday gift program around the region.

Across West Michigan, toy and monetary donations are down for Toys for Tots. In Kent County, the previous record for kids registered to receive gifts sat just above 10,700. This year, more than 12,300 are signed up to get toys, but with the donations slow to come in, there's worry some kids wont be able to get their holiday magic.

"Nobody really knows," Said Jamie Sauline, office manager at
Midwest Properties ERA Powered. "There are boxes there but they don’t ask you, they don’t come in and say hey do you want to donate a toy.”

Sauline and her team have collected toys for the past 5 years, but this year they've gone against the trends and brought in more toys than ever. Their previous record was a little more than 250 toys, but this year, they've collected 534 and counting.

"When we set that goal of 500 toys we knew if we wanted it to happen, we needed to make it happen," said Will Zain. Zain is responsible for the company's social media, and helped drive the massive jump in donations with a series of videos posted to their Facebook page. 


Posted by Midwest Properties ERA Powered on Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Wednesday the office had collected 440 toys when one of the agents brought in a big pickup. "I literally counted 59 toys, and my heart stopped," Sauline said. "I was like 'One more toy!', and I had accidentally put one to the side.”

By Thursday morning they cruised past their goal, and they will still be collecting through Monday. "I wanted to cry a little," Sauline said. "Happy tears, but I wanted to cry."

Toys can be dropped off at their Belmont office, located at 2355 Belmont Center Drive Northeast, suite 104. They're accepting donations Monday through Friday from 9am to 4 pm.

Or you can find your closest drop-off location here.  

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