Local organizations are once again teaming up to bring a little holiday cheer to children in need through the Christmas Playpen - a program in which gently-used toys and bikes are gathered, repaired and provided to area families.
“We don’t want any child to go without Christmas," said Maj. Faye Flanagan with the Bismarck-Mandan Salvation Army.
Beginning Friday, toys and bikes can be donated at the Go Mini's storage unit, located at Dan's Supermarket's south location parking lot, 835 S. Washington St. Donations will be collected through Nov. 24.
Monetary donations, used to fill gaps in gift donations, should be sent to The Bismarck Tribune.
"We make sure every child gets something new," Flanagan said.
The toys and bicycles are then brought to the North Dakota State Penitentiary, the Missouri River Correctional Center and the Dakota Women's Correctional and Rehabilitation Center to be repaired by inmates.
More than 500 children from 290 families benefited from the program last year.
“It’s important to help families who can’t afford to have Christmas,” Flanagan said.
This year's Joy Shop, where the toys are distributed, is set to take place Dec. 12-15.
Families wanting to participate in Christmas Playpen must fill out an application at the Salvation Army office, located at 601 S. Washington St. Social Security cards must be provided for every household member. Applications will be accepted from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday through the end of November.
Approved applicants will receive a letter in the mail at the end of November, detailing when and where they need to be to select their family's Christmas gifts.
Other donors include TransTrash, which provides dumpsters to the facilities for the discarding of any unrepairable toys, and Epic Sports, which will donate new bikes.
Christmas Playpen cash or check donations can be made out to The Bismarck Tribune, addressed: The Christmas Playpen c/o Cassidy Kraft, P.O. Box 5516, Bismarck, ND, 58506.
For more information about the Joy Store, call 701-223-1889.