Gifts Anonymous aids 671 children

Gifts reached 671 children this holiday season, thanks to the generosity of local residents, businesses and the volunteers of Gifts Anonymous, the CAER food shelf has announced.

Gifts Anonymous is a program designed to help area families who are financially unable to provide Christmas gifts for their children.

“Imagine not being able to give your child a gift Christmas morning,” said Carmen Pouliot, executive director of CAER, which is headquartered in Elk River. “The whole purpose of Gifts Anonymous is to marshal the resources of our communities so that all families have the opportunity to celebrate the season.”

According to Pouliot, 257 families benefited from Gifts Anonymous during the recent holiday season.

By comparison, last year the program helped 726 children and 277 families.

Gifts Anonymous relies on local businesses to set up collection barrels for the new and unwrapped toys that are donated.

“Many organizations also hold toy drives and fundraising events to provide cash, which the Gifts Anonymous team can use to purchase gifts,” Pouliot explained.

“Our thanks go out to all the individuals, organizations and businesses that contributed to this year’s successful event,” she said. “We are especially grateful to Michelle Eder, Debbie Smith and Wendy Zacharda, who coordinate Gifts Anonymous, as well as their families and friends. Without their time, talent and dedication, we would be unable to provide this service to our communities’ families.”