Fortune Bay Resort Casino launches Santa’s Workshop Toy Drive

Fortune Bay Resort Casino guests and employees will be adding some joy to area children. They’ve launched their first ever Santa’s Workshop Toy Drive.

Guests simply bring in a new gift, show the receipt to a Player’s Club representative, and get Fortune Play added to their player’s card. Up to 100 points can be added to a player’s card daily until December 17th.

“We wanted to do something where our guests could do something to help and, in the process, we are rewarding them with a dollar-for-dollar Fortune Play match for the gifts they buy for children,” said Fortune Bay’s General Manager and Bois Forte CEO Mayan Beltran. “I have done something similar to this at other properties I worked at, and it was very successful.”

“Our employees have also stepped up to help with this charitable giving,” said Beltran, who added that employees buying gifts for the area kids can get a complimentary lunch for their kind deed. “We’ve already seen a lot of engagement with this, and I think the concept of helping out area kids really resonates with our employees and, of course, our guests.”

Santa’s Workshop Toy Drive culminates with a party in The Woodlands Ballroom at Fortune Bay on Wednesday, December 20th, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the dispersal of gifts to area children. In order to ensure the toys are age and gender-specific, Fortune Bay’s staff will keep track of the donations leading up to the party.

Fortune Bay’s Kirstie Kern and Charlie Riihiluoma were two of the first employees to purchase gifts for Santa’s Workshop Toy Drive.

“Christmas is always a magical time of year, and we wanted to do what we could to make a difference,” said Kern, who is Fortune Bay’s Executive Chef and is always one of the first to volunteer her time or resources to events such as these. “Charlie and I had a great time shopping for the kids and would encourage others to do the same. It just feels good to give back to the communities we serve.”

Kern posted photos of the gifts she and Riihiluoma purchased on her Facebook page to raise awareness of Santa’s Workshop Toy Drive.

“This prompted several of my friends to say they were going to make a donation themselves,” said Kern.  “It’s great that they want to pay it forward.”

Along with the toy giveaway, a variety of other activities will be taking place during the party on the 20th. It will include pictures with Santa, coloring activities, hot chocolate, cookies, games and even a visit from Bois Forte’s K9 dog.

“We’re very excited about this, and we worked hard to get this concept off and running in a short time frame,” said Fortune Bay’s Director of Marketing Hannah Lehti. “Our team is very passionate about it. It’s very inspiring to see how many of our guests have already donated to this cause.”

Lehti said she is hopeful this inaugural event can turn into a longstanding  event like the old Kids’ Christmas Party that Fortune Bay hosted at its property and the Vermilion Wellness Center.

“We want to make it a family-friendly event like the Kids’ Christmas party we used to do,” said Lehti. “I am overwhelmed by how many people have brought in toys for this event.”

Lehti said that within a week of rolling out Santa’s Workshop Toy Drive, the designated area to drop the toys was already running out of space, so additional storage was needed.

“I think that just goes to show how people on the Iron Range want to give back, and we are privileged to play a part in this success story to make this Christmas extra special for area children,” said Lehti.