June 19, 2018
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Giving a Merry Christmas to Kids

By Debra Bell, Weekly Staff Writer

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays add one more gift to your holiday list: the gift of giving to a child or family in need.

For 31 years Penquis has spearheaded the Christmas is for Kids campaign, an opportunity for private citizens to provide a child in need with a gift under the tree.

According to Renae Muscatell from Penquis, Christmas is for Kids is a community-based agency that combines the resources of 20 organizations all with the goal of making Christmas joyful.

There are so many agencies that are providing names,” Muscatell said. “It’s a variety of kids with a variety of needs.”

In addition to providing kids with a present, Christmas is for Kids also connects the public with the work of local agencies.

“When you buy a gift you can deliver it to the agency and learn more about [them,]” she said. “You get to see a person and get thanked in person.”

In addition, Penquis can handle making purchases or distributing purchased gifts to the organizations participating in Christmas is for Kids. But the benefits of charitable giving like this are myriad. In addition to spreading holiday cheer, the gift is making a difference.

“The kids are so thankful and they have so little,” Muscatell said. Many of the agencies provide first and second choice gifts as well as a little background information, including information about the child’s needs and background. “How do you balance bringing joy to a kid or giving them socks? For some families it’s an unexpected hardship.”

That hardship could be that the family is overcoming being homeless or the loss of an income. It could be a single parent family or a family struggling because of an illness.

This year’s Christmas is for Kids started with over 600 kids. As of Tuesday at 11 a.m., there were still 431 children in need according to the website, www.christmasisforkids.org.

The site makes it easy to get local with gifting. Search by child, by hometown, by age, or by number of siblings. Cash donations are also accepted to help make children’s wishes come true.

To find a child to sponsor, visit www.christmasisforkids.org. The deadline for many children is Dec. 14, with some deadlining on Dec. 18.

Muscatell recommended checking the drop-off deadline before choosing a child.

For more information, contact Penquis at 973-3500.

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