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Highland continues to hold annual Toy Drive for Salvation Army

Clarence Mitchell Library

The Highland Community College sponsored Festival of Giving Toy Drive will continue this year with some changes by having people donate toys and money to the Salvation Army from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the entrance to Cub Foods, 1512 S. West Ave., Freeport, Ill.

In previous years the Festival of Giving took place on the Highland Campus with a live broad auction on Big Radio. With COVID-19 restrictions, the event has been moved outdoors to the new location. In 2019, $12,000 was collected and 1,300 toys were delivered to the Salvation Army for their Christmas gift baskets to families.

The Festival of Giving Toy Drive was started by Alicia Kepner, Coordinator, Nursing and Allied Health programs, eight years ago with the help of Big Radio. Kepner said she had a dream to help as many kids as she could, so she shared her vision with Big Radio, who jumped at the chance to help.

“This year we were limited in what we could do with the toy drive because of COVID restrictions,” Kepner said. “We will have a trailer outside of Cub Foods. You can pull up and we have a team ready to accept donations of new, unwrapped toys from you, safely from the car. We will also have the large red Salvation Army kettle for those who don’t have time to shop and want to make a monetary donation. We will practice social distancing, wear masks, and have hand sanitizer.”

Kepner said she is hoping the response remains the same for the annual giving campaign.

“It has been a hard year on everyone, and we just want to do what we can to help out and create a feeling of coming together for those in need, “We are very hopeful that our normal Festival of Giving auction and live broadcast will return in 2021,” she said. “We want to thank all the businesses and individuals who have supported us in the past, and we look forward to their support this year and the years to come.”