Organizers of the Toys for Tots campaign are thanking the northern Michigan community for a near record collection effort and highlighting some volunteers who made a big difference during the holiday season.
A. Papanos Pizza in Beulah and two volunteers from Kalkaska County received the top awards from Toys for Tots of Northwest Michigan. The honors were awarded Monday night during the campaign's annual wrap-up dinner.
The campaign collected nearly 26,000 toys that were distributed to approximately 7,700 children in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Antrim and Kalkaska Counties. The total was close to the record amount raised last year, but organizers say they actually saw a leveling off of the toy requests.
Organizers presented what they call a Star Award to volunteers who have given outstanding service to the campaign.
Andy Miller, owner of A. Papano's Pizza of Beulah received an award that is given to someone outside of the organizing committee. Miller has hosted a toy drive for many years at his restaurant and has solicited support for the campaign from area law enforcement agencies along with family and friends.
Another Star Award was given to Karen Krumlauf and Melissa Morgan. The two coordinated distribution and collection in Antrim and Kalkaska Counties.
"We have received remarkable support from the entire region," says campaign director Maggie Kent. "Every year thousands of people step forward to assure that every child in the region has the opportunity to have a memorable Christmas, and this year was no exception." Kent praised the efforts of Miller, Krumlauf and Morgan saying they have been steadfast in their support of Toys for Tots.