Local Meijer, Marine Reserves Team Up to Provide Toys for Needy Families

Meijer donated $2,000 to the Marine Corps Reserve of McHenry County to shop for toys at its store in Algonquin on Wednesday. The toys will be donated to the Salvation Army.

Holiday shopping took on a new meaning Wednesday morning at Meijer in Algonquin.

Buck Vander Leest, a member of the McHenry County Marine Corps Reserve, along with his wife, Romaine Vander Leest, and daughter Jill Hader, joined Kathi Phillips, retail administrative assistant for Meijer, to pick out toys for needy families.

Meijer donated $2,000 to the McHenry County Marine Corps Reserve to spend in its store for the marine reserves annual Toys for Tots Drive.

The toys will be donated to the Salvation Army, which is dire need of toy donations this Christmas season, Buck Vander Leest said. 

It's an annual family affair for Vander Leest, a marine who served in the far east during the 1950s, and his wife and daughter who join forces to fill carts with toys and other items they think area kids will enjoy. Phillips helps by point out the popular items for the year.

The group has shopped together at Meijer every year over the past five years. 

"This is my favorite work day each year," Phillips said. "It's great to give back to the community that shops here." 


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