Area Christmas for Kids programs still taking donations

Programs cater to families in Pine River-Backus, northern Crow Wing County


The lakes area's two Christmas for Kids programs continue to collect donations to make the holiday brighter for those in need.

Pine River area

The Pine River area Christmas for Kids program is making some adjustments because of COVID-19 precautions, but continues to request donations by mail and by offering drop boxes at area businesses.

"We put out boxes and now we're picking them up," said Karen Bresnahan, Christmas for Kids committee member. "Then all I do is send out letters and the money comes in."

Those wishing to donate may drop off or mail donations to the family center at P.O. Box 1, Pine River, MN 56474.


Participants will still go to the Pine River-Backus Family Center to pick up their gifts, but will be contacted by organizers to come at a specific time. When ready, staff will then bring the gifts outside to the participant, rather than having people enter the building.

Applications for Christmas for Kids are still available at the Pine River-Backus Family Center. Last year, the program served 62 families with 169 children.

Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Crosslake area

The Christmas for Kids program that caters to families in the northern part of Crow Wing County had to cancel its usual fundraisers this year held at Maucieri's and Riverside Inn in Crosslake because of COVID-19 restrictions, but continues to collect donations to reach all families in need and make their Christmas a happy one.

Boxes for toy donations are located at participating locations throughout the area, while monetary donations can be sent to: Christmas for Kids, P.O. Box 5, Crosslake, MN 56442.

Kids will receive a toy listed on the family application, clothing, pajamas, toiletries, a book and self care supplies. The family will get a meal and family game. Christmas for Kids volunteers shop for each child individually from the information given in the applications they receive.

This year, law enforcement and other volunteers will not deliver gifts to families the day before Christmas. Instead, applicants should contact organizers where they applied to find out where they should go to pick up their gifts. The program will serve about the same number of families as it did last year.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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