A toy drive inspired by Aniya Allen to spark joy from tragic loss

A young girl and a man pose for a photograph
K.G. Wilson (right) and his granddaughter, 6-year-old Aniya Allen, are shown in this picture. Wilson said his granddaughter is in critical condition after being hit by a bullet in the head.
Courtesy Photo

The final day of a toy drive organized in memory of 6-year-old Aniya Allen, who was killed by a stray bullet in Minneapolis in May, is Wednesday.

New toys for ages 3-6 in their original packaging (but unwrapped) can be donated any number of ways, including being dropped off at So Low Grocery Outlet, at 3111 Emerson Ave. N. in Minneapolis by 6 p.m. Wednesday. Gifts can also be donated via Amazon gift registry or Target in-store or online registries, according to directions on the donation website.

Aniya's grandfather K.G. Wilson said he came up with toy drive idea as a way to channel the raw emotions he's experiencing.

“She would give anything. She was loving and caring and giving like that,” Wilson said. “I think I need to channel this hurt and this anger into something that is beautiful and positive for this Christmas.”

No one has been arrested in Aniya’s killing.

Wilson said he hopes the person responsible for his granddaughter's death will give the community a gift and turn themselves in.

"To give that to us — me and my family and the Minneapolis community — a Christmas gift by turning themselves in, and giving us that justice. So, I am continuing to go on. I am still hurt. I am still angry,” Wilson said. “But like I said, Aniya's Christmas toy drive is a way that I am channeling my anger and my hurt."

Gifts will be distributed Thursday afternoon.

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