WATERVILLE – Hundreds of volunteers are struggling to raise donations and assemble boxes for the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers before the program’s deadline Dec. 7.

Donations increased after word went out earlier this month that the program, because of challenges including Hurricane Sandy and the struggling economy, would not have enough for the 1,600 children in the state it planned to give to this year.

But even that increase hasn’t been enough. The director of the home’s Christmas program said 750 gift boxes for children lack needed clothes and toys.

The program has identified 1,600 disadvantaged children throughout the state, but has only enough supplies to complete 850 of the packages, said program director Cristen Sawyer.

The program, which has been operating for about 60 years, gives each child an outfit, pajamas, a small toy, a large toy, two books, a coloring book, and a hat and mitten set. Each family also gets a board game.

Because the boxes have to be filled and distributed through donated space, clothing and toys donated after Dec. 7 will be held until next year.

Sawyer said the program, which accepts only new items in their original packaging, is hurting for clothing in sizes 5 to 16 for boys and girls.

Anyone who would like to donate can get information at www.mainechildrenshome.org or by calling 872-0261.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

mhhetling@centralmaine.com