EAST MACHIAS, Maine — Liz and Michael Henry, who are renovating a 200-year-old home as a bed-and-breakfast, know firsthand the struggles of being away from home on Christmas. They are a retired military family.
So when Liz Henry received an e-mail from an Army private that included a wish list of items missed and needed by those in the war zones, she immediately went into action.
“I know that anything we do will be appreciated,” she said.
Liz Henry came up with the idea of a Winterfest celebration that will include business sales, community gatherings, Christmas caroling and a special silent auction.
“We are collecting items to mail to the MP Company 293 D,” she said, “but the cost of mailing each box is $10.50.”
The silent auction, for which she also is seeking donations, will fund the postage.
Henry has set Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12, as the Winterfest dates. Participating merchants are Henry’s own antique shop, The Root Cellar and The Church Bazaar Marketplace. The sales will be 2-7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, all in the area of the intersection of U.S. Routes 191 and 1.
Henry is seeking donations for the silent auction, and bidding will close at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12.
At 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, the Washington Academy Choir will be singing carols, and Henry is inviting everyone to come down and participate in the singing.
Donations for the gift boxes, which will be sent after Christmas, include items such as peanut butter and jelly, chocolate, fruit candies, marshmallow fluff and drink mixes.
“These are the things they miss from home,” Henry said. “They just want to make s’mores.”
Henry said part of the Winterfest would be a letter-writing campaign.
“We are asking all students to write letters and cards addressed to ‘an American soldier,’ and we will forward them to Iraq, Afghanistan and Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington, D.C.,” she said.
Henry is hoping the Winterfest will grow each year and become a way to attract people to East Machias at the holiday season.
Donations can be mailed to the Henrys at 509 Main St., East Machias 04630, or call 259-1103.