Local bar looking to reel in ‘Bigg’ donations for Toys for Tots drive

Johnston Sun Rise ·

A local bar in Johnston is looking for the community’s help to bring joy to children this holiday season.

Mr. Biggs Saloon at 1463 Atwood Ave. is holding a Toys for Tots drive through Dec. 13, and folks don’t need to be customers to donate a gift or two. Kristine Truppi, who has worked at the location for 13 years, said she and Liz DiMaio had the idea.

Their inspiration was simple, Truppi said – “It’s just a wonderful thing to do for the children who need it.” Owner Dennis Fried said the business has contributed to various charitable causes in the past, but this is its first time taking part in a Toys for Tots drive.

“Any time there’s a charity or somebody in need, the customers here come through big time. I’m sure they will this time, too,” Fried said. “It’s a neighborhood bar for sure. We’re doing well with the collection so far, and I’m sure we’ll be getting a lot in the next week or so. It’s a neighborhood bar and we have close ties to the community, and everybody that works for me has been with me forever. Everybody knows everybody, and that’s just the way it goes.”

Truppi and the rest of Mr. Biggs’ staff have been promoting the drive in several ways, including through the bar’s Facebook page and the interview with the Sun Rise. Truppi also said they have posted reminders in the bar’s windows.

A little assistance goes a long way, too, as those who donate will receive a raffle ticket for the thank-you party on Dec. 15.

“They don’t have to be Mr. Biggs customers, the toys are all going to the same place,” Fried said. “They don’t have to have a drink or anything, they can just drop a toy off, and if they do drop a toy off, we’ll give them a coupon for a raffle of $100 gift certificate to Mr. Biggs. So whether they’re here or not, we’re going to raffle it off and they’re going to be eligible to win the $100 gift certificate.”

Truppi said the party will feature karaoke and food, as well as the aforementioned raffles. She and Fried are appreciative of the community’s efforts thus far, and there is still plenty of time to head to the saloon and participate.

“It’s been a good response,” Truppi said. “A lot of people think it’s a wonderful idea. They support it.”

“I’m very lucky that my staff, Kristine especially and all the people that work for me, they do most of the promotions,” Fried said. “They tell me what they need and I give it to them, but they do the organizing and so forth and it always works out.”