RED WING -- “A Different Kind of Christmas Season” was the theme for the Red Wing Elks’ Christmas Basket Project this year.

This essential civic charity was accomplished with the minimum of people and the maximum of safety compliance. Small, immediate family groups accomplished staging and packing that was spread out over several days. The same was true for delivery, where masking and social distancing were strictly observed, participants said Monday after delivering baskets to local families.

A similar theme played out for Shop With a Cop, also known as Shop with a Kid, an event by Red Wing Police Benevolent Association and Fraternal Order of Police, Riverview Lodge No. 7.

Bob Behrens, Red Wing police officer Erich Bettich, Sgt. Mark Mandelkow and Jennifer Staley stand with one of the 15 children selected for Shop with a Cop in 2020. Submitted photo
Bob Behrens, Red Wing police officer Erich Bettich, Sgt. Mark Mandelkow and Jennifer Staley stand with one of the 15 children selected for Shop with a Cop in 2020. Submitted photo

Due to the pandemic, Red Wing Public School District social workers identified 15 children to make a Christmas list for their families. Jane Wassink and her crew then shopped for the gifts, and Noontime Kiwanis helped to wrap them. The Red Wing Y also was involved.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

On the morning of Dec. 19, the gifts along with a grocery cart containing all the fixings for a holiday dinner were placed in the Walmart Garden Center for the families to stop by. Sgt. Mark Mandelkow and officer Erich Bettich loaded the vehicles

Each child had $125 to purchase gifts for their family and themselves.

“The kids had a blast, while we were able to spread Holiday Cheer, while remaining COVID-19 safe!” the RWPD Facebook page reports.

Sgt. Mark Mandelkow and officer Erich Bettich transport groceries and gifts. Submitted photo
Sgt. Mark Mandelkow and officer Erich Bettich transport groceries and gifts. Submitted photo

Back at the Elks Lodge, people continued a 60-year-old pledge to deliver the fixings for a complete Christmas dinner for families in need, serving 125 local families that encompass 598 people.

Co-chair Dennis Herling said that this annual event demonstrates caring and sharing for everyone involved.

“Normally, we try to get everybody involved, but this year it was just the opposite. Our members and sponsors can be proud that we got the job done during a different kind of Christmas season,” he said.

Christmas dinner

Concordia Lutheran Church will again serve a free Christmas dinner.

All meals are takeout-only this year.

People should call 651-388-4775 and leave their name, telephone number, address and the number of meals needed.

The church is located at 1805 Bush St.