by Joni Astrup
A program designed to help area families who are financially unable to provide Christmas gifts for their children kicks off this week.
Gifts Anonymous barrels will be put out at area businesses beginning Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 19 and 20. People may drop off new, unwrapped, children’s gifts in the barrels through Friday, Dec. 14.
New this year is an opportunity to buy Visa gift cards for older children. Michelle Eder, one of the Gifts Anonymous coordinators, said the cards are available at Klein Bank in Otsego or at The Bank of Elk River’s downtown Elk River location. The banks will waive the fees normally associated with Visa gift cards and will make sure the cards are delivered to Gifts Anonymous.
Cash donations are also welcome and may be mailed to CAER Gifts Anonymous, 19279 Watson St., Elk River, Minn. 55330 or deposited in the CAER Gifts Anonymous account at The Bank of Elk River.
Last year Gifts Anonymous provided gifts to 723 children from 274 families.
Here are this year’s gift drop-off sites:
•American Legion, 525 Railroad Dr.
•Anytime Fitness, 18130 Zane St.
•Bank of Elk River, all locations
•Bela Salon, 19320 Highway 169
•Boys and Girls Club, 905 6th St.
•Brock White, 12785 Elk Lake Rd.
•Central Bank, 17267 Yale St.
•Coborn’s, 19425 Evans St.
•Cub, 19216 Freeport Ave.
•Curves, 13469 Business Center Dr.
•Family Speech and Therapy, 19021 Freeport St.
•First National Bank of Elk River, downtown and Elk Park Center
•Kemper Drug, 323 Jackson Ave.
•Menards, 19521 Evans St.
•Olde Main Eatery, 313 Jackson Ave.
•Purpose Driven Restoration, 325 Main St.
•River of Life Church, 21695 Elk Lake Rd.
•St. Andrew’s Church, 566 4th St.
•Star News, 506 Freeport Ave.
•Union Church, 1118 4th St.
•Walgreens, 18267 Carson Ct.
•Zylstra Harley Davidson, 19600 Evans St.
•Bank of Elk River, 15800 88th St.
•Denny’s, 9020 Quaday Ave.
•Klein Bank, 15751 87th St.