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The season of giving

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/

The season of giving is upon us once again. Unfortunately, there are many in need right here in our own community. Many organizations choose the Christmas season as a time to put forth extra effort to meet those needs. Per haps you can volunteer some time, donate books or toys or make a financial contribution to make someone's holiday a little brighter. If everyone gives just a little, it goes a long way.

Here are some ways to give locally this holiday season.

Toys for Tots

The local Toys for Tots campaign is sponsored by the UPS Store of Alexandria and the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties.

This year, gifts are being collected for children ages 18 and younger. Donated gifts of new toys, games, gift cards, books, music and more will be accepted (organizers prefer no stuffed animals).

Donated items may be dropped off at the UPS Store at 1210 Broadway or at the United Way office at 2504 Aga Drive, both in Alexandria.

The Jefferson High School (JHS) cheerleaders are also supporting the campaign by collecting toys and gift items at the JHS office and during the following JHS athletic events:

Tuesday, December 7 - girls' hockey game.

Thursday, December 9 - wrestling meet.

Tuesday, December 14 - boys' basketball game.

Toys will be distributed locally to help children experience the joys of the Christmas season.

Project Bookshelf

For the 21st year, the Alexandria Area Branch of American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Community Education are collecting new children's books through Project Bookshelf. Books will be distributed locally through the Jingle Bells program.

Donate a new book for a child who many not get one this holiday season.

Donations of money are also appreciated, as they enable AAUW members to purchase appropriate books at a quantity discount. Checks can be made to Alexandria AAUW and sent to Community Education, P.O. Box 308, Alexandria, MN 56308.

Donations must be received by December 9.

New books can be dropped off at the Douglas County Library, Community Education, Book World, Cherry Street Books, Alexandria Technical and Community College and Knute Nelson in Alexandria, Nelson's Store in Evansville, the Glenwood Public Library, Osakis City Hall and Midwest Bank in Parkers Prairie.

For more information call (320) 846-7061.

Imagination Library

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is asking you to share the joy of reading with children.

A $30 donation in honor of a friend or employee or in memory of a loved one will give one book per month for one year to a young child in Douglas or Pope County.

There are more than 1,900 children registered in these two counties who received a book a month from birth to age 5.

Jingle Bells

The 61st live Jingle Bells Telethon will be held Saturday, December 11 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on KSAX TV. The telethon will take place at the Lake Geneva Christian Center, 605 Birch Avenue in Alexandria. It can also be seen live on

All money raised is used to purchase food and gift baskets for local families in need.

To make donations the night of the telethon, call (320) 762-1216. Donations may also be mailed to Jingle Bells, P.O. Box 131, Alexandria, MN 56308.

Gifts of toys are also accepted for the gift baskets. Toys are being collected at the following Alexandria locations: 3M, Douglas County Hospital, Bremer Bank, Neighborhood National Bank, K-mart, Pete's County Market, Viking Savings, Trumm Drug, First State Bank of Alexandria, Walmart, Walgreen's and Mills Fleet Farm.

Volunteers are needed to help box food and/or make deliveries. If you can help, go to H. Boyd Nelson, 3800 Minnesota Street in Alexandria on Sunday, December 12 at 9 a.m. After boxing the food, the routes will be loaded and delivered at about 10 a.m.

For information, visit the website or call (320) 834-3030.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army volunteers ring holiday bells to raise money to benefit individuals in the Douglas County area.

Donations are used for food, rental assistance, utilities and to help people who are homeless and in need of assistance.

Bell ringers are needed now through Christmas at the following Alexandria locations. To ring at Walmart, call Roger at (320) 760-1519; to ring at the Viking Plaza Mall, call Art at (320) 763-5089; to ring at K-mart, call Dave at (320) 760-1323.

Donations may be dropped in any of the kettles, or mailed to Salvation Army Douglas County, 2808 Government Point Road NE, Alexandria, MN 56308.

Bring a Blanket

On Sunday, December 5, Subway restaurants in central Minnesota and western Wisconsin are partnering with Bridging, Inc. to collect blankets that will be given away with beds to individuals and families in need.

All five of the Subway locations in Alexandria are participating in the effort.

To contribute, individuals are asked to bring new or gently used, clean blankets in good condition to any participating Subway restaurant. Especially needed are blankets that fit full and queen size beds.

Contributors will receive a free regular six-inch Subway sandwich - one per person.

You may also log on to Each person to make a donation of $20 or more will receive a certificate in the mail for a six-inch sub.

Radiothon to End

Child Abuse

KIKV-FM and Cool 94.3 will host the Radiothon to End Child Abuse on Thursday, December 2, beginning at 1 p.m. and continuing until noon on Friday, December 3. The event is co-sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota.

Proceeds will also be shared by the Douglas County Prevention Council, Pope County Help Council, Stevens County Family Well Being Committee, Todd County PEACE Council and the Grant County Child and Youth Council.

During the 23-hour broadcast, listeners may phone in a pledge to help stop child abuse in Minnesota and in their local county.

Listeners will hear from human service professionals about child abuse prevention and local resources available. Listeners will also have an opportunity to bid on auction items.

For information on auction items, call (320) 762-2154 or during the radiothon, call the special All State Sprint Line, 1-877-836-KIDS, where volunteers will answer phones set up at Pete's County Market.

Last year, the radiothon raised almost $46,000. After minimal expenses of less than 10 percent, all of the money raised remains in Minnesota. Listeners can designate which counties their money goes to.

Mobile Food Drop

United Way's Community Impact Coalition is looking for volunteers for the Mobile Food Drop on December 3 at New Life Christian Church.

Volunteer positions vary from set-up to intake to runners. All help is welcome anytime between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Distribution will begin at 11:30 a.m. and go until the food runs out.

To qualify for the food, participants need to be Douglas County residents. Bring your own boxes or baskets to carry food.

For more information or ito help with this or a future food drop, contact United Way at (320) 763-4840.