December 29, 2023 at 10:35 a.m.

Toy drive ensures presents under the tree

By Mary Glindinning 

The song says once you pass toyland’s borders, you can’t ever return again. 

But just because you’re not a child anymore does not mean you can’t enjoy making sure children have toys for Christmas.

People filled bins with toys to be distributed by the Iowa County Holiday Project through a drive sponsored by the Dodgeville Chronicle, Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce and Democrat Tribune and Pecatonica Valley Leader. 

“This will help a lot of families,” said Iowa County social services specialist Lori Cerutti, who has coordinated the holiday project for 29 years, as she accepted delivery of the toys Friday. 

Games, dolls, blocks, books, puzzles and just about every other toy you could think of filled a huge box at the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce, where Director Cory Graber-Bennett immediately agreed to host the toy drive when asked. 

Generous Mineral Point readers filled a car (a compact car, but packed) with toys. 

At the Chronicle, readers came with stuffed animals, coloring books, sleds, farm toys and much more, sharing an almost contagious holiday spirit with those who watched two big bins plus more fill day by day. 

Handmade wood trucks will end up under someone’s tree. 

“I just make them all the time. That’s my pastime,” Mick Goninen of Mineral Point said. “All the kids and grandkids have them. That just seemed like a good home for some of them,” and he split his donations between the Chamber and Democrat Tribune drive and the Oddfellows toy drive at two basketball games. 

Some parents helped their children choose toys to give away to teach them about helping others. 

One parent wrote a note that she was donating two toys in memory of her deceased son because he loved children. 

Generous donations for the holiday project come from more than 40 corporations, businesses, groups, churches, families and individuals. 

Baskets of food, toiletries and cleaning supplies, along with gifts and toys, will be picked up or delivered to 100 families or elderly individuals and couples all over Iowa County through the holiday project.