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Christmas Project is underway

Farmers Independent of Bagley, Minnesota

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The holiday season is approaching quickly and the needs in Clearwater County are greater than last year! The Clearwater Christmas Project wants to help as many men, women, and children in our county as possible to have a merry Christmas, but they need your help. Help them to give everyone in Clearwater County a memorable Christmas.

The Clearwater Christmas Project (CCP) is a non-profit organization committed to bringing Christmas to those in need in Clearwater County. Through the efforts of volunteers and donations from local residents and businesses, the CCP provides a memorable holiday experience to children in need and their families; ensuring the true spirit of Christmas remains alive for everyone involved.

To illustrate the profound need, last year the CCP donated toys to over 460 children and over 200 Christmas meals to families. It costs about $10,000 for this accomplishment, and the project relies on donations of money, toys, and food items from the public.

According to Chairperson Tracy Imle of Gonvick, the CCP has been an ongoing project for over 40 years. It began with the Department of Human Services who provided the toys and food from their client base; however, the Christmas Project became too big for Human Services. In 2011, three groups — the Bagley Tuesday Study Club, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Clearbrook, and the Clear Waters Life Center in Clearbrook/Gonvick — took over the Christmas Project. "We collect the toy and monetary donations through the months of November and part of December," noted Imle. Tracy has worked as the liaison for the CCP since 2011.

This year there will be few changes as to the distribution of the toys and the Christmas meal.

Imle stressed that, to be eligible, a person just needs to show proof of residency in Clearwater County. People are still eligible for the Christmas dinner even if they don't have children.

According to Mrs. Imle, "We will be handing out toys (one toy per child) and grocery vouchers (worth $30) on Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 2 to 6 p.m. and on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. Please bring proof of residency and you must be present to pick up toys and grocery vouchers. We can't give them to a friend or family member."

This year's Christmas meal includes vouchers that include donations of potatoes from Peatland Reds in Gully and wild rice from Riviana Foods in Clearbrook. Choice of meat will be determined by the family being served. The food/meat voucher must to be used at one of three Clearwater County grocery stores — Bakken's Market at Clearbrook, or Kubiak's Family Foods or Galen's SuperMarket in Bagley — on Dec. 21 or 22.

The Bagley Tuesday Study Club will be holding their annual fundraiser for the CCP — Tables for Tots — on Saturday, Nov. 14, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Fireside Grill and Patio in Bagley. This is a great fundraiser as tables are beautifully decorated with different themes and a delicious meal is served by the Fireside chefs. Each guest is encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for the CCP. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance at Fireside or from a Study Club member. The Bagley Tuesday Study Club also donates funds and assistance with the Christmas Project. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and the Clear Waters Life Centers also gather toys and funds for this project. There are other organizations in Clearwater County that contribute their money and time towards this project.

If you or your organization would like to give a monetary donation, please send to The Christmas Project, P.O. Box 133, Gonvick, MN 56644. Toys can be donated at North Country Hardware, Y92 Convenience, or Bakken's Market in Clearbrook,, Kubiak's or Galen's grocery stores in Bagley, or Northern Bait & Convenience in Gonvick.

Let's give a memorable Christmas to those in need in our county.



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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015



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