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December 01, 2017 10:00 PM

Ear And Eye Drive Challenges Businesses To Donate Toys

Eyes, Ears, and Throat doctors -- what do they have in common? They love to give back. 

Two local businesses are challenging others to put a smile on a child's face this Christmas by donating toys to the Eyes and Ears Drive. 

The holidays bring out the giving spirit, especially for two Sioux Falls businesses. Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat and Sioux Falls Family Vision started a drive to get as many toys donated for kids as possible. 

"We came up with an idea of challenging businesses in Sioux Falls to do a toy drive," said Dr. Jeff Sayler, Family Vision. 

It was inspired by another successful event that was held in October. 

"We had a blood drive. We had a competition between Family Vision and that went so well and we kind of thought it would be a good idea to work together again and try for a toy drive," said Dr. Greg Danielson, Midwest Ear, Nose, & Throat. 

The physicians kicked it off by gathering $500 worth of toys.  Now other big businesses are joining in.  

"The idea of social media and how well that works now and Facebook and everything with the ice bucket challenge and things like that in the past. We came up with the idea of doing the toy challenge and challenging other businesses in the community to get as many toys as we can to kids in need," said Danielson. 

The original goal was to have each business donate 15 toys, but organizers say they're already passed that. 

"I was just hoping both of our offices would be able to come up with 15, 20, 30 presents and now all of a sudden we have five, six ,seven, companies that are going to do this," said Sayler. 

One of those companies is the Balleraena Dance Studio. Owner, Raena Rasmussen says the studio was challenged on Facebook.

"Knowing that Balleraena is part of this bigger picture and challenging other businesses in town to bring in toys and who's going to give the most for these kids this year for Christmas," said Raena Rasmussen. 

The dance studio has seen a huge response from not only parents but from the kids. 

"The kids are excited. I think it's so fun this time of year to give and to know that they're going to get toys but also they know that kids at Christmas time need things," said Rassmussen. 

Parent, Erica Brenner says her daughter is eager to help decide which toys to donate. 

"She likes to give to other kids. We've been doing that. She likes to come pick out things then I kind of know, if she likes it than other kids are going to like it too," said Brenner. 

 Rasmussen says she's already knows who she's going to challenge next. 

"I think we're going to challenge Midwest Dance Center, one of our other friends. I think if we challenge places with a lot of kids, I think it's cool too because it's kids being a part of it and kids giving to other kids," said Rasmussen. 

The drive isn't just for toys. 

"It's cool because it's called the Ear and Eye challenge and so a lot of the businesses are even giving hygiene things," said Rasmussen. 

All of the donations we be dropped off for children at the Banquet and Children's Inn. 

"Some of us are more fortunate than others and it's hard especially with kids to see kids suffer during the holidays. So we should be helping out everyone we can and that's what it's all about," said Danielson. 

"It's just so cool to wake up on Christmas morning and go, 'I have something and there's a toy there or there's a present there, or there's a toothbrush there, or there's just stuff there waiting for me. It's what kids look forward to at Christmas," said Rasmussen. 

A small gesture that's spreading across the community and will go a long way. 

The Toy drive goes until December 15. If you want to look up what businesses are participating or want to be challenged you can look at the online hashtag Eyes Ears Toy Challenge. 

You can also drop off toys at the Midwest Ears, Nose & Throat and Sioux Falls Family Vision. 

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