Melonnie Sundberg has been working with Toys for Tots in Shawano for a number of years now, collecting and distributing toys to help needy children. Sundberg is the owner of Bullpen Bar in Pulcifer, which is one of Toys for Tots’ biggest supoorters for Shawano County’s youth.
It’s something that Sundberg prepares for a year in advance and she just enjoys spending time collecting toys, as her drive continues to grow.
“It’s a very fun time and people enjoy it and they look forward to it,” said Sundberg. “The participation is growing. We totally exceeded [our expectations] for cash wise and toys are not cheap, so we found some good deals this year.”
Plans are in place already for fundraising efforts for the next year. Their largest is a motorcycle poker run, known as Christmas in July, and an annual golf outing that’s expected to grow in popularity. While this year exceeded expectations, Sundberg has bigger goals in mind.
“You really try to get it to go as far as you can and get as much as you can,” Sundberg explained. “I’ve got a lot of good sponsors for the bucket raffles and at each stop we do another 50/50 drawing, including everybody at each bar, so it’s not just the people on the ride.”
When asked what sparked this drive of collecting toys, it was a personal experience that she had they had seen first-hand.
“The reason that we got started at the Bullpen bar in Pulcifer is that we found a need. He was involved in the Tavern League and there was a shortage. They were like 300 kids short. We would go out and raise more money on the side to help fill the empty spots were being left behind.”
This year with Sundberg’s efforts, gifts were provided for about 900 children, which raised about $1,200 from supporters. This was the third year working with the Giving Tree in Cecil, and the eight year for the Toy Crusade and Toys for Tots.