Ronald McDonald House toy drive underway in Henning

Photo by Chad Koenen
Ronald McDonald House toy and supply drive boxes have been set up throughout the Henning community. This box is located at B&D Foods and will collect a variety of toy and personal products through most of December. 

By Chad Koenen


A stick of deodorant or bottle of bleach may not seem like a perfect Christmas gift, but for those are staying at the Ronald McDonald House something as simple as a bar of soap could be just as important as a new TV or electronic device.

This year the Henning community will once again gear up to collect toys as part of its annual Ronald McDonald House toy drive. In addition to toys, area residents can donate things like bathroom, cleaning and household supplies.

Henning Police and Fire Chief Mike Helle said representatives at the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo, N.D., said household items are among the most requested items they receive from families staying at the house. Since some families come to the house with little more than the clothes on their back while their loved ones are in the hospital, having household items readily available can help to take some of the stress out of a trying situation. 

The annual toy drive for the Ronald McDonald House was started several years ago by former Henning Police Officer Tyler Schwartz after his family used the facility in Fargo. Seeing the need first hand, and what the Ronald McDonald House offers families, Schwartz wanted to give back to the facility through a toy drive around the holidays. 

Though he no longer works in Henning, Helle has continued the annual toy drive as a way for the local community to keep giving back to the Ronald McDonald House.

“I think it is good and some of our families in the area have used it,” said Helle. 

The Ronald McDonald House provides a place for people to stay while their children are in the hospital battling everything from cancer to other illnesses. The facility has toys for children, snacks, cleaning supplies and a cupboard that is almost always full with food so families do not need to worry about where to stay or what to eat while their children are in the hospital.

Over the years the community has filled a large trailer with toys and other donated items that are then delivered by Helle and other emergency personnel. 

Helle said some of the items that are needed include snacks, deodorant, bleach, other household items and toys for children of all ages. 

Donation boxes will be set up between Thanksgiving and right before Christmas at B&D Foods, Dollar General in Henning and Battle Lake, Henning City Hall and the Henning Community Center. Once the items have been collected, they will be driven to Fargo, N.D. and delivered to the Ronald McDonald House.