Local business owner goes on shopping spree for Blaine’s Toy Drive
Blaine Fisher and his mother Kandy got connected with the Judge family when they needed someone to fix Blaine’s seizure helmet. They met Ann Judge, the owner of Ann’s Alterations, and her brother Mike, the owner of Superior Rentals in Marshalltown, heard they hadn’t had great luck with Blaine’s annual toy drive for the Salvation Army last year. Mike set out to help him avoid the same outcome in 2021, and $4,300 later, it’s safe to say he succeeded.
“Ann mentioned to me that Blaine was still looking for more toys for his toy drive, and I told her ‘Hey, let’s just go out to Menards and use up some of our company’s rebates.’ So we did some toys,” Mike Judge said. “Marshalltown’s been great for us, and we just want to give back to the kids.”
The Fishers and the Judge siblings met at Menards on Wednesday afternoon and picked out a little bit of everything, from essentials like toilet paper, socks and breakfast cereals to toys like Hot Wheels and mini foosball and pool table sets.
Blaine, who lives in Conrad, is an aspiring business owner in his own right, as he’s currently in the process of launching a food truck called Blaine’s on Your Main. He and his mom started the toy drive as a way to help those in need, and his greatest joy, he said, is seeing the smiles on their faces once they’ve opened their gifts.
Mike Judge, a lifelong Marshalltown resident, has been in business locally for over 30 years, and despite all of his success, he still has a soft spot for those who are struggling. He noted several of his own tenants who worked in the restaurant industry have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s always going to be kids who need more than they’re getting, and it’s up to us to help them out,” he said. “It helps the parents too. It takes some pressure off of the parents… This is just a real small thing for us to do.”
Kandy was in her car on Wednesday morning when she received word of Mike’s generous gesture, and she cried tears of joy as the impact of his kind deed hit her.
“It’s unbelievable, and it’ll hit me again later tonight,” Kandy said. “Right now, the adrenaline’s (pumping).”
Salvation Army Captain Pam Kasten and case worker Derice Aragon were all smiles when the vehicle loads arrived in the back of their building on Wednesday. According to Kasten, the Salvation Army will serve about 300 local kids this year, and major contributions like this one go a long way toward brightening the holiday season for families in need.
“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” Kasten said. “It’s a great haul, and we’re just so happy for his big heart and for the kiddos.”
Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.