by Joni Astrup
A last-minute flood of donations helped make Gifts Anonymous a success this year.
The Elk River-based program helps families who are financially unable to provide Christmas gifts for their children.
The need was great once again, as Gifts Anonymous provided gifts to 726 children from 277 families — three more kids than the number helped last year.
“It went very well,” said Michelle Eder, who coordinates the effort with Debbie Smith and Wendy Zacharda. People were very appreciative, she added.
Because of the way the Christmas holiday falls this year, the deadline for new, unwrapped gifts and monetary donations was Friday, Dec. 14, which was a bit earlier than usual. The gifts were distributed last weekend.
Eder said when they were setting up to distribute the gifts, they were afraid they wouldn’t have enough.
As it turned out, a lot of gifts were still being donated after the deadline. Eder said they had people collecting gifts at the drop-off sites on both Saturday and Sunday while the distribution was going on.
“We had a lot come in but it was right down to the wire,” she said. “That is really what saved us.”
There were a number of very generous donations like $30 gift cards and $50 gas cards, Eder said.
She’s grateful for everyone who helped.
“Without the generous donations — unwrapped gifts and cash — and the volunteers, there’s no way we could do it,” Eder said.