Approximately 16 million children are living in poverty today. Many of them don’t have access to a safe place where they can enjoy active play — which can help develop muscles, brains and friendship-building skills that last a lifetime.

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The national nonprofit organization KaBOOM! is working to make a difference by bringing safe, healthy play spaces to children across America — particularly those who are growing up in poverty. For the past 10 years, The Toro Company and the Minnesota Vikings have supported this mission by donating funds, equipment and volunteer hours to build one playground each year in Twin Cities communities like Minneapolis, St. Paul and Brooklyn Park.

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How It Works

Toro works with the Vikings to select and recommend a location in need to KaBOOM! (typically near a school). This year’s chosen location was at Curtiss Field in Falcon Heights, Minn.

Each project starts with input from kids in the community. KaBOOM! project managers meet with them and talk about what they want for their playground. The kids are given paper to draw their dream playgrounds, and the adults in the group use the drawings for inspiration to pick components for the project.

Once the design is finalized and equipment is delivered, construction is a two-day process. On prep day, about 30 volunteers from Toro’s Siteworks division bring several Toro Dingo® compact utility loaders to the site to prepare the area. Equipped with attachments, the Dingo units make quick work of digging holes for footings — saving time compared to manual labor.

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On build day, approximately 150 to 200 volunteers work together to build the playground. Toro’s volunteers come from different departments and roles, with the CEO and vice presidents working alongside other employees from across the company. They’re joined by volunteers from different parts of the Minnesota Vikings organization, including the players.

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Giving Back

In the last decade, Toro and the Minnesota Vikings have donated a total of more than $600,000 and countless volunteer hours to this program. As a result, more than 25,000 people of all ages have benefited directly from these projects by having healthy, safe places to play in their neighborhoods. For Toro and the Vikings, it’s not only a way to give back to the community — it’s a great example of what can be achieved by working together.

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Watch this video from the latest project in Falcon Heights, Minn., or visit kaboom.org for more information about KaBOOM! and its mission to ensure that all kids get opportunities to enjoy the active play they need to thrive.

 

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