“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”― Maya Angelou

In Hibbing, the public safety officers of Police and Fire like to give back to the community. 

For the fourth year, they will be at the Hibbing Walmart to “Stuff the Ambulance” this Friday.  Hibbing K9 Officer, Brittany Dillinger says, “After responding to calls for service in the community, I saw homes with children that lacked basic needs. I wanted to help beyond the few minutes I was in their home on a call. I thought by doing the Toy Drive, Officers could make a longer and more positive impact with the children by showing them we can be helpful not only when 911 is called.“

The Hibbing Fire Department is also partnering and will be bringing a truck and helping at the event.

Steve Estey, Chief of Police of Hibbing, Minnesota.

Hibbing Police Chief, Steve Estey tells us how they know who needs what, “The way we chose the families is we send a message to the three principals in our elementary schools because they are seeing these kids, they know them day in and day out, they know them well.  So, they send us the families.  Dillinger continues, “We thought the teachers who spend a large amount of time with the children in the community would have a good idea who could benefit from this program.”  

This program serves students from birth to 18.  There is no application as the school knows who could use the extra help.

But, this is not a toy drive where people donate and the items are given out, oh no….its so much more.  “We get all the families together, we rent out the Memorial Building dining room.  We cook them a meal, the whole family comes, they eat, then Santa comes, We usually do some little games like BINGO.”   This year, this will take place on December 11th.   Two of the chief’s secretaries cook the food.  Dillinger adds, “This is my favorite part! Getting to know and hang out with the kids and their families is fun and rewarding. Due to the nature of my job, I usually deal with people on their worst days so it’s cool to see them excited.”

Hibbing Police at 2022 Christmas Drive. Brittany Dillinger, Hibbing K9 Officer is on the far right, in the pink Santa hat.

So, how can you help be a part of this?    Estey tells us, “On Friday, we will have a couple police officers, the fire department will be there, and they will be collecting either gifts or monetary donations that day.”  Dillinger adds, “If they cannot make it on the 1st, they can drop off donations anytime at the Hibbing Police Department through Dec 8th.” 

Chief Estey summed things up by saying, “The community has been great over the past few years, and I feel that it’s just an Iron Range thing, that’s just how we are up here.”  He adds, “We like helping each other out and you never know when you might need help.”

Crews will be at Walmart in Hibbing from 2pm to 6pm on Friday, December 1st.  For more information, go to:  https://www.hibbingmn.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=81

Jamie Pershiren, Loan Office at Embarrass Vermilion Federal Credit Union in Aurora, Minnesota.

In Aurora, Jaime Preshiren, a Loan Officer at Embarrass Vermillion Federal Credit Union is organizing the many gifts that have already been donated through their Angel Tree campaign.  They have been doing this since 2016.  So, how do they find the kids who need a little extra help?  “We go through St Louis County Child Services, they provide us with quite a few names. We also go to our local schools; Mesabi East, Babbitt, Tower and Nett Lake.”

They typically have a list of 110 kids each year.

To help a child, go to any the branches of Embarrass Vermilion Federal Credit Union, Aurora, Embarrass, Tower & Nett Lake, except the Fortune Bay branch, and as Pershiren explains, “pick a tag, go shopping and bring everything unwrapped right back to us.  We take care of all the wrapping.”  They would like everything back by December 8th  “that will give us a good week to finish wrapping up,” says Pershiren.  “We do have some community members who will just donate money, so if there is a tag or two at the end we go shopping with the donated money.”

They are also looking for folks who would volunteer to help wrap all of these presents. She says,  “It gets a little crazy wrapping, so if anyone wants volunteer wrapping, we do that at the Embarrass office”.

She also wants people to know that each child will get a new pillow.  So, if you want to donate a new stand pillow, they will receive those donations at all branches, too.

For more information about the Angel Tree Toy Drive, go to:  https://www.evfcu.org/

Preshiren concludes, “Its just one of those heart-felt kind of do-good stories, you know.  It brings out the true meaning of Christmas.”

Also, in Aurora you can support the Spirit of Giving Store and Project Elf.

There several other ways to give this weekend across the Range:


Stuff the Ambulance from noon to 6pm.

Bring new, unwrapped toys to give to the Salvation Army.

Come see Santa & the Grinch! Cook Country Connections will be there from 3:45 to 4:45pm.

For more info, follow the Eveleth Fire Department on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evelethfireems


The DAV will be at Timber Hall from 8am to noon accepting gently used clothing, shoes, and outerwear.

Help insure every child receives a gift this season by donating an unwrapped gift or gift cards during the Toy Drive also from 8am to noon at Timber Hall.

The Memorial Blood Center will be parked just outside of Timber Hall.  Appointments times are from 8:30am to noon.  Sign up today at: https://www.mbcherohub.club/…/sche…/drive_schedule/72761


Hell’s Angels 

Toy giveaway will be at the Clubhouse on December 23rd at 2pm!

24 Drop off boxes across the area.  For a list, go to: https://www.facebook.com/HAMC.ir

Donate to the GoFundMe:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/37hc8ud4q0

They are looking for donations of bikes, toys, clothes, gift cards, and money. For more information, go to their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/HAMC

Joy McJingles writes a blog about Iron Range Tourism and Holidays on the Range. Blogs are posted on Thursdays and Sundays.