HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake citizens know that Santa Claus enjoys his annual visits to their fair city.
And Santa knows that some people might not be able to receive Christmas presents without his help.
Once again this year, Santa, Howard Lake firefighters, and students of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School’s Minnesota Honor Society (MHS) will join forces to ensure no one is left out.
Santa typically visits Howard Lake several times each December once when he helps collect food and toys; and then again, of course, when he delivers presents to little ones Christmas Eve.
Santa’s Howard Lake helpers
Santa’s main contact at the Howard Lake Fire Department is firefighter Brian Kittock.
Kittock and his family, wife Nicole, and children Payton, Grace, and Jackson, help Santa get organized for his Howard Lake visit each year.
HLWW MHS students distribute food and toy collection boxes in the HLWW area.
This year, Kittock said, food and toy collection boxes are located in Howard Lake at Howard Lake Foods, Joe’s Sports Shop, Citizens Alliance Bank, Troubles Restaurant and Bar, the Howard Lake American Legion, and the Sinclair station.
There are also donation boxes in Waverly at the following locations: Uptown Bar & Grill, St Mary’s Catholic Church, Waverly Cafe, and Humphrey.
In Winsted, donation boxes are located at Security Bank & Trust, Glenn’s SuperValu, Crazi Coffee, the Winsted Public Library, Winsted City Hall, and Winsted Elementary.
Food and toys collected in the boxes “stay local,” according to Kittock.
If any food or toys remain at the end of the drive, they are donated to Howard Lake churches, and Love In the Name of Christ (Love, Inc.).
Last year, the collection drive was able to share donations with 145 people, including 85 children of all ages.
Santa will arrive in Howard Lake Sunday, Dec. 8 at approximately 3 p.m. He inspects the festively-decorated Howard Lake fire trucks, and climbs aboard one of them. Firefighters drive Santa around the city collecting food and toy donations. (See Santa’s itinerary in the adjacent box.)
Santa has been known to keep candy canes in his pockets for people who can share food or toys with him for the collection drive.
People who do not live in Howard Lake are welcome to bring food and toys to Santa at the fire station or at HLWW High School during the times listed in the adjacent box.
Making seasons bright
Using a little Santa-magic, firefighters deliver all of the donations to HLWW High School, where 15 to 20 MHS students sort and organize everything.
This year, families needing some holiday help may visit HLWW High School Friday Dec. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. to receive food and gifts.
They could simply say Santa, and a few of his local elves, sent them.
Santa and the HLFD Food and Toy Drive
estimated pick-up times and locations
Sunday, Dec. 8
(Country residents may meet Santa at the Howard Lake Fire Station or HLWW High School)
Lakeridge - 3 p.m.
Fairway - 3:30 p.m.
Terning Way - 3:45 p.m.
Shoreline Drive- 4 p.m.
Howard Lake Fire Station - 4:30 p.m.
HLWW High School- 4:50 p.m.
Haywood Drive- 5:15 p.m.
Dutch Lake Trail - 5:45 p.m.
Howard Lake Fire Station - 6:15 p.m.