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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted photoMoniteau County Toys for Tots Program Coordinator Dan Mesey stands next to a table filled with 165 toys donated by employees at California’s Dollar General store Monday. Donation boxes for the Toys for Tots program will be placed in stores and other locations throughout the county starting in October.

Just when organizers with Moniteau County's Toys for Tots program were beginning to think 2020 would be a difficult year for toy donations, local employees at a California store provided a boost in advance of the toy drive season earlier this week.

California Dollar General employees stepped in and donated 165 toys Monday, which will go a long way toward helping the more than 300 children in families earning below the poverty line on average that Toys for Tots serves annually throughout the county. Last year, that number hit 376, with 1,519 toys distributed between them through Toys for Tots.

Monday's donation is the earliest in the year the Moniteau County Toys for Tots program has collected toys in its history. Donation boxes are set to be in stores and other locations throughout the county starting in October. Toys for Tots gives toys to kids up to and including age 15.

For more information about Toys for Tots in Moniteau County, or to donate, visit california-mo.toysfortots.org.

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