This year, The Santa Claus Fund returns for its 50th season, and we have a lot to accomplish in four short weeks to once again make sure hundreds of children in the Midcoast have a happy holiday.

In 1967, the Santa Claus Fund was started by Mr. & Mrs. Greenlaw, employees of The Times Record who saw a need to help families in the local communities with toys for Christmas. Later, the Brunswick Golf Club took over, and in 1985, the Brunswick and Bath Elks Clubs joined forces to run the organization and have been doing it ever since.

In the past 32 years, $1,080,371 has been raised averaging about $34,870 per year. Last year, we raised $34,503. Our annual budget for gifts is dependent on how much is raised in the previous year, so what we receive this year is what we can spend next year. Almost all off of the money taken in goes directly to the children, and stays pretty local. We have a very small overhead for office and packing supplies plus storage and workspace rental fees.

Our major purchases are made in partnership with local businesses. Reny’s Department and the owners and employees of Joshua’s Tavern in Brunswick, have been major partners and long time supporters. In recent years, The Mustard Seed Bookstore in Bath and The Taste of Maine in Woolwich, Craft Storage, and Cumberland Storage have added their support to our program. Words alone cannot express our appreciation.

Unfortunately, we do not have the data for the previous years, but The Santa Claus Fund, Inc. has served 10,715 families since 1985 averaging 346 per year. In 2016, our numbers were lower at 154 families. We hope that this was due to better financial stability in the area and not, that people in need, didn’t know how to find us. If you know of a family in need, please pass on the information of how we can help. Please visit our Facebook page. A link to email questions is there and we are working on having the ability to accept donations through Facebook.

Again this year, we are asking for donations to support our mission of providing gifts to children whose parents need assistance to make it happen. Our mailing address remains the same and checks may be sent to:

The Santa Claus Fund

P.O. Box 278

Brunswick, ME 04011

Members of the Elks Club also visit local businesses each year, during November and December to solicit donations. They will have letters of introduction to show for identification.

If you prefer to donate new toys, games, hats, mittens, gift cards, or cash, these may be brought to the Elks Club at 179 Park Row in Brunswick, or on Lombard Street in Bath. Just ring the doorbell and someone will assist you. All donations will be published in The Times Record in the manner you wish: by name, in memory of a loved one, or anonymously. It will be our pleasure. All donations are tax deductible.

The Santa Claus Fund provides gifts to boys and girl aged 6 months to 13 years old as of Dec. 25, 2017 who physically reside in the towns of Brunswick, Harpswell, West Harpswell, & Litchfield, as well as all of the towns in Sagadahoc County: Topsham, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Richmond, Bath, West Bath, Phippsburg, Woolwich, Arrowsic, Georgetown, and Sebasco. The custodial parent or legal guardian is the person who may apply. The address for applying is the P.O. Box listed above.

To apply for assistance, both the children and the adult applicant must be legal residents of a town in our distribution area. Only one letter will be accepted, so in the instance of split custody, the town where the child attends school will be used to determine which parent may apply. If you have a question regarding this policy, you may call 207- 371-6385 for clarification. The office is staffed Monday- Friday, 9 a.m. to noon from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, other times by chance. Applications may be sent now, and must be postmarked by Dec. 8, 2017. The package pickup date will be the morning of Dec. 15 at the Brunswick Elks Club, Bath Elks Club, Bowdoinham and Richmond town halls.

Applications are usually filled within one or two days of receipt beginning Friday, Nov. 24. Please call us a few days after mailing your letter for your box number and pickup place. We will also try to reach you, but will not leave a message with a child.

Each letter must include:

1) The full name and the physical address, as well as a daytime telephone number of the custodial adult applying. If we have any questions, we will call for clarification. A Post Office box address will be rejected.

2) The first and last name of each child, gender, age, and date of birth must be included. No exceptions! We ask for gender because not every name is gender specific.

Pick up The Times Record for updates on donations that are received, which we hope will be daily!

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