Photo courtesy of Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

Families in need also received coats and diapers

OLD TOWN — Thanks to parishioners at the Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, hundreds of area children will now have not only gifts to rush to on Christmas morning, but coats to keep them warm when they walk outside.

The parish placed “giving trees,” holding tags with Christmas gift requests from area children in need, in each of the parish churches (Holy Family Church, Old Town; Our Lady of Wisdom Church, Orono; St. Ann Church, Bradley; and St. Ann Church, Indian Island). Parishioners took the tags, made the purchases, and brought the donations back to the churches.

“In the end, the parish was able to help over 200 children with 295 packages,” said Robin Perkins, administrative assistant at the parish.

The recipients of the gifts are students at Alton Elementary School in Alton, Helen S. Dunn School in Greenbush, Leonard Middle School in Old Town, Old Town Elementary School in Old Town, Dr. Lewis S. Libby School in Milford, Viola Rand Elementary School in Bradley, and the YMCA preschool in Old Town.

“Children who requested a coat as a Christmas present were given both a coat and a gift this year,” said Fr. Kyle Doustou, pastor of the parish. “Thanks to the Knights of Columbus and generous parishioners, no child has to do without a gift to have a warm coat.”

Additionally, parents who requested diapers as their young child’s “gift” were surprised to receive diapers and wipes as well as a gift for their child.

“The parish made the decision that diapers were not a Christmas gift for any child and parishioners purchased diapers, wipes, and gifts for all children two and under,” said Perkins.

The schools were not only surprised to see so many presents delivered, but also how they were delivered.  

“As one counselor put it when the gifts were delivered, ‘There are so many wonderful gifts and they are wrapped!’” said Perkins. “She had already planned a wrapping day when the gifts were delivered only to discover they had been wrapped by the parishioners.”

Despite the pandemic and financial difficulties affecting many, all gift tags taken from the “giving trees” were returned with a gift for the first time in memory.

“Fr. Doustou challenged the parishioners to ‘shine the light of Christmas’ in our community this Advent and the parishioners have made that light brighter by lighting the faces of children in need with these special Christmas gifts,” said Perkins.

“In our homes and in our neighborhoods, in the workplace and in the marketplace, amongst our relatives, friends, and even our enemies…wherever we go and with whomever we meet, we are called to live out the enduring mystery of Christmas by loving others as Christ Himself,” said Fr. Doustou.