Toy drive Dec. 22 for families battling cancer

The OneForJoe Toy Drive is back for its second year at Andover Cinema.

The OneForJoe Toy Drive, organized by Blaine resident Joe Johnson is taking place the morning of Saturday, Dec. 22 at Andover Cinema.Submitted photo

The OneForJoe Toy Drive, organized by Blaine resident Joe Johnson is taking place the morning of Saturday, Dec. 22 at Andover Cinema.Submitted photo

From 8:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, Santa Claus will be outside Andover Cinema, located at 1836 Bunker Lake Blvd., for photo opportunities with families. This is a truly unique photo opportunity because there will be live reindeer, a sleigh, carolers, a 15-foot Christmas tree and a couple of Minnesota pageant winners.

Anybody who brings an unwrapped handmade or store bought toy can watch a 10 a.m. showing of “Arthur Christmas” for free. There is capacity for approximately 1,500 guests.

All toys are donated directly to the Miracles of Mitch Foundation, which donates toys to families impacted by battles with cancer. The children with cancer themselves are not the only ones who receive gifts, but their siblings can do so as well, Johnson said.

Johnson started this OneForJoe Toy Drive last year at Andover Cinema and chose to help out Miracles of Mitch because of its focus on also caring for the brothers and sisters of those with cancer. This is especially meaningful for Johnson because his older brother Ted died in 1992 when Joe was a teenager.

Johnson said there are a lot of families struggling financially and dealing with cancer, so “the more toys, the merrier.” Miracles of Mitch donates toys to families throughout the year, so it is usually running low by the holiday season, Johnson said.

For the inaugural toy drive event last year at Andover Cinema, over 1,000 toys were donated within the first 90 minutes.

Gifts can be for infants up to those who are 18 years old, Johnson said. Board games that the whole family can enjoy and gifts for teenagers are items that would be very welcome.

National American Miss Minnesota Brittany Link and princess Kylie Broberg will also be at the theater for photo opportunities.

Johnson wants to make sure this event is a good value for families as well, so he said it would be OK if a family of four can only donate one toy. They will still be able to get into the movie. Monetary donations will also be accepted.

To find out more, visit www.oneforjoe.com/toys.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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