June 22, 2018
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Waterville charity gives gifts to kids in Maine

By staff

WATERVILLE, Maine — The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers, based in Waterville, has announced the results of its annual Christmas program that donates clothing and toys to underprivileged Maine children.

This year, with the support of many businesses and individuals, the organization packaged and distributed 1,562 boxes of gifts for Maine children ranging from Sanford to Presque Isle. For more than 35 years, the program has provided new toys, books, games and clothing to underprivileged boys and girls throughout Maine.

“I am very grateful for all the support we received from all the individuals and businesses that pitched in this year. It was a real team effort,” said Cristen Sawyer, Christmas program director for the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers. “I think the most rewarding part for me and anyone who donated is to know that their gift often makes a difference in the life of a child in what their Christmas morning will be like.”

Each child in the program, which gears up in October, receives a large box full of clothing and toys that match their age group. The boxes are taken to the Augusta or Waterville armory for pickup.

The program wouldn’t be possible without the thousands of donations from individuals and local businesses, according to a press release. This year, the program had support from 45 businesses, churches, schools and organizations that collected gifts with giving trees or toy drives. The largest donations came from the New Balance Foundation, which provided the agency with a nearly $26,000 grant to cover overhead costs for the program.

The Huhtamaki packaging company provided boxes for all the clothes and toys, and local Barnes & Noble locations asked every customer to donate a new book to the program, which resulted in more than 20 boxes of books for the children.

The Christmas Program is also made possible thanks to the support of the Maine Army National Guard, and transportation of gifts this year was donated by students at Thomas College in Waterville.

To donate to The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers Christmas program, to volunteer or to learn about eligibility guidelines, contact Cristen Sawyer at 872-0261.

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