by Joni Astrup
The deadline to donate presents to Gifts Anonymous is just over a week away and the need is great.
“We are really having a slow start this year,” said Michelle Eder, one of the Gifts Anonymous coordinators. “Several of our barrels have either nothing in them, or a couple items.”
Some cash donations are coming in, which will be used to purchase gifts.
Gifts Anonymous is designed to help area families who are financially unable to provide Christmas gifts for their children. Last year the program provided gifts to 723 children from 274 families.
Gifts Anonymous barrels are out at area businesses. People may drop off new, unwrapped, children’s gifts through Friday, Dec. 14.
Visa gift cards for older children are also available at KleinBank 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 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.
Other efforts also are under way. Eder said the Elk River Rotary is collecting gifts and a fundraiser is under way at KleinBank in Otsego. Bank employees are wearing jeans on Fridays during December and making donations to Gifts Anonymous, she said. KleinBank also donated $253 to Gifts Anonymous through its “Swipe Local. Shop Local.” program. From Nov. 23-25, each time customers swiped their KleinBank Debit MasterCard for purchases, KleinBank donated 5 cents to local agencies like Gifts Anonymous.
In addition, $118 in cash and 20 gifts were donated to Gifts Anonymous at last weekend’s downtown Elk River tree lighting ceremony.
‘I just challenge all the local businesses and residents to open up their hearts this season,” Eder said, adding that all gift and cash donations are appreciated.
Here are this year’s gift drop-off sites:
•American Legion, 525 Railroad Drive
•Anytime Fitness, 18130 Zane St.
•Bank of Elk River, all locations
•Bela Salon, 19320 Highway 169
•Boys and Girls Club, 905 Sixth St.
•Brock White, 12785 Elk Lake Road
•Central Bank, 17267 Yale St.
•Coborn’s, 19425 Evans St.
•Cub, 19216 Freeport Ave.
•Curves, 13469 Business Center Drive
•Eagles Club, 824 Railroad Drive
•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 Road
•St. Andrew’s Church, 566 Fourth St.
•Star News, 506 Freeport Ave.
•Union Church, 1118 Fourth St.
•Walgreens, 18267 Carson Court
•Zylstra Harley-Davidson, 19600 Evans St.
•Bank of Elk River, 15800 88th St.
•Denny’s, 9020 Quaday Ave.
•KleinBank, 15751 87th St.