May 27, 2018
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Holiday craft fair will benefit Maine children

Brian Swartz | BDN
Brian Swartz | BDN
Helen Giles of Hampden is a member of the Sunshine Club for Children, which pays the transportation costs for families taking their children to and from Shriners Hospitals for Children.
By Brian Swartz, Of The Weekly Staff

People looking for a special Christmas present can accomplish that goal and help Maine children at the same time by shopping at the Holiday Marketplace Craft Fair, set to take place 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Anah Shrine Center, 586 Main St., Bangor.

Sponsored by the Sunshine Club for Children, the craft fair is the non-profit organization’s primary fund-raiser, according to Helen Giles of Hampden. The Sunshine Club helps Maine youngsters being treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children by paying “their transportation costs to and from the hospitals,” including those at 51 Blossom St., Boston, and 516 Carew St., Springfield, Mass., she said.

According to, the mission of each Shriners Hospital includes providing

“the highest quality care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs within a compassionate, family-centered and collaborative care environment.” Children receive medical care at no cost.

To help families deal with transportation costs, the Sunshine Club for Children pays “for the cost of traveling,” Giles said. “It could be by airplane or a bus, or if they chose to drive.”

The Sunshine Club was established more than 85 years ago by “a group of 10 women who wanted to help children and their families,” she said. Today more than 1,000 people belong to the club, which is based at the Anah Shrine Center, but draws members from across Anah’s service area.

Membership is open to men and women, and members do not need to be affiliated with the Shrine.

Several dozen crafters will set up inside the Anah Shrine Center to display Maine crafts for the fair. Free parking will be available on site; admission is $1 per adult and free for children ages 12 and under. Proceeds will go to the Children’s Transportation Fund of the Sunshine Club.

Raffle tickets will be sold for a queen-size quilt sewn by Jackie Smith of Carmel. The winner of the quilt, which features a log cabin and flowers, will be drawn at the Holiday Marketplace Craft Fair on Nov. 3, 2013.

Meanwhile, table space is still available for vendors at the 2012 craft fair. To participate in the event, contact Sue Black at (207) 338-4142.

Anyone interested in joining the Sunshine Club for Children and supporting its child-focused mission should contact Norine Holt at (207) 862-3457 or Peggy Kaufman at (207) 924-6610.

To date in 2012 the Sunshine Club for Children has reimbursed $14,000 in transportation costs for 70 medical cases, according to Giles. Besides funds raised by the November craft fair, the club also receives financial support from different Anah Shrine units, and private donations are always welcome.

Donations should be mailed to the Sunshine Club for Children, Anah Shrine Center, 586 Main St., Bangor, ME 04401.

Families seeking coverage for Shrine Hospital-related transportation costs can contact Tammie Call at (207) 991-3555 or, during business hours, the Anah Shrine Center at (207) 942-2254.

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