by Joni Astrup
A local effort to collect gifts for children kicks off Monday.
Barrels where new, unwrapped presents can be deposited will be put out that day at locations in the Elk River, Otsego, Ramsey area. The deadline to donate is Dec. 19.
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 for 726 children and 277 families.
“We feel there is going to be just as much of a need this year,” said Michelle Eder, who is coordinating the program with Debbie Smith and Wendy Zacharda.
Operating for 43 years, Gifts Anonymous provides presents for children up to age 18. Eder said there typically is a lack of items for older children. Visa gift cards are one option for them, she said. They can be purchased at Klein Bank in Otsego and at any Bank of Elk River location.
In addition to the collection barrels, people can also drop off gifts, gift cards or cash donations at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at downtown Elk River’s tree lighting ceremony. Gifts Anonymous will also be collecting gifts in downtown Elk River during Santa’s visit on Dec. 14.
Cash donations are accepted any time at the Gifts Anonymous account at The Bank of Elk River.
Here are the places to drop off new, unwrapped gifts:
•American Legion, 525 Railroad Drive.
•Anytime Fitness, 18130 Zane St.
•The Bank of Elk River, 630 Main St. (downtown) and 846 Freeport Ave. (School Street).
•Bodywise Chiropractic Center, 19332 Highway 169.
•Central Bank, 17267 Yale St.
•Cherry Berry, 18157 Carson Court.
•Coborn’s, 19425 Evans St.
•Creative Therapy Center 657 Main St.
•Cub, 19216 Freeport Ave.
•Deneen Flanary & Associates, 221 Main St.
•Eagles Club, 824 Railroad Drive.
•Edward Jones Investments, Sandi Yeado, 305 Jackson Ave.
•Elk River Printing, 596 Dodge Ave.
•Farmers Insurance, 312 Main St.
•First National Bank of Elk River, 812 Main St. (downtown) and 19157 Freeport St. (Elk Park Center).
•Furniture & Things, 15612 Jarvis St.
•Guardian Angels by the Lake, 13439 185th Lane.
•Kemper Drug, 323 Jackson Ave.
•Lighthouse Learning Academy, 19027 Proctor Road.
•Marcus Theatres, 570 Freeport Ave.
•Menards, 19521 Evans St.
•Olde Main Eatery, 313 Jackson Ave.
•Re/Max Results, 650 Dodge Ave.
•River of Life Church, 21695 Elk Lake Road.
•St. Andrew’s Church, 566 Fourth St.
•Star News, 506 Freeport Ave.
•State Farm, 19336 Highway 169.
•Zylstra Harley Davidson, 19600 Evans St.
•Walmart, 18185 Zane St.
•Edward Jones Investments, Sandi Yeado 305 Jackson Ave.
•Bright Eye Vision Clinic, 15704 90th St.
•KleinBank, 15751 87th St. NE.
•The Bank of Elk River, 15800 88th St. NE.
•Denny’s, 9020 Quaday Ave.
•Bob 106 FM, 14443 Armstrong Blvd.