Updated: 12/15/2013 10:44 PM
Created: 12/15/2013 9:35 PM KAALtv.com
By: Jenna Lohse
(ABC 6 News) -- Firefighters from across Dodge County have been collecting toys for tots in our area for weeks now. This afternoon, many of them got the chance to hand pick toys that kids will open Christmas morning.
We were there during their shopping spree; it's something these firefighters look forward to.
It's not every day you see six different fire departments roll into Toys R Us in Rochester. But Sunday these firefighters from across Dodge County were on a mission.
"We have age group zero to three years old,” said Steven Jurrens, with the Kasson Fire Department.
Each fire department had a different age group to buy for. Combined, they had close to $7,000 in donations from the community to spend on toys.
"My kids love this store, so just about anything, I’m going to think about things they've pulled off the shelves saying they want,” said Jason Fife, with the Dodge Center Fire Department.
From xylophones to toy fire trucks, the carts were quickly packed with toys for kids across South East Minnesota.
"It might be parents that can't afford a lot for Christmas, so it's going to be a great opportunity for us to give back to the community,” said Jurrens.
For the second year now local fire fighters have done this. The toys bought Sunday will go to Christmas Anonymous, the Salvation Army and several other agencies.
"They just seem to enjoy it and they really had I think the Christmas spirit,” said local shopper Mary Malecha.
They say it's their way of ensuring every child in our area has a gift under the Christmas tree, "We want to make sure everybody has a wonderful merry Christmas,” said Fife.
The gifts bought today will go to children in the surrounding eight counties. The firefighters tell us they’ve already pushed out $10,000 in toys to local agencies. But they are still behind in toys for ages 0 to 3 and for those over 10. You have until December 23rd to donate.