Lil Griz Toys for Tots

A Missoula preschool is on a mission to bring joy to others during the holiday season, and they’re starting with a simple walk across the street.

The Lil Griz preschool students have participated in the marine-based Toys for Tots program for the last seven years. This year, their teachers took 14 of them to Walgreens to pick out toys for kids who might not have presents during the holidays. Lil Griz preschool teacher and program manager Melissa Taylor says the Toys for Tots shopping trip teaches the kids a lesson that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“We think it’s important…to start at this age,” Taylor said. “Teaching kids to be kind to each other and to be giving.”

Lil Griz owner Erica Lawson says they participate in Toys for Tots because they want to help kids in need, but there’s also a connection to the drive’s military roots. She says the original owner of Lil Griz joined the Army after the 9/11 attacks, and was killed in action in Afghanistan. Lawson says she always loves participating in Toys for Tots, but this year is extra special. 

“My son just left a week and a half ago for basic training in the Marines,” Lawson said.

Marines across the country will hand out the gifts to kids across the country, and the Lil Griz students are excited to think about who might get their presents. The Lil Griz Preschool will accept Toys for Tots donations until December 15. A list of Toys for Tots collection sites across the state is located here.

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