PHYLLIS THIBOUTOT stuffs a box full of toys that will soon go to a Midcoast family to help make Christmas a little brighter for children who may not get presents otherwise.

PHYLLIS THIBOUTOT stuffs a box full of toys that will soon go to a Midcoast family to help make Christmas a little brighter for children who may not get presents otherwise.

BRUNSWICK

Santa, after checking his list twice, is reminding grown-ups in the Midcoast that the Santa Claus Fund still needs donations, ensuring local children have gifts under the Christmas tree.

With 25 days until Christmas, the Santa Claus Fund is also still looking for applications from families who, due to financial hardship, need help providing gifts for their children. To be able to distribute gifts to everyone on time, legal guardians seeking assistance should have their letters to the fund postmarked by Dec. 8.

 

 

The Santa Claus Fund turns 50 this year. Incorporated in 1967, it was started by employees of The Times Record. In 1985, the endeavor was turned over to the Bath-Brunswick Elks Club, which has continued to run it with a mission of putting “a smile on a child for Christmas.”

The fund provides gifts to children age 13 and younger who live in Sagadahoc County, Brunswick, Harpswell and Litchfield. Gifts include toys, hats, mittens and warm socks for boys and girls.

Volunteers were busy in Brunswick on Tuesday, working in a room filled with toys, sorted by age group and gender. Santa Claus Fund Chairman Bob Thiboutot said each child will receive four gifts, as well as some stocking stuffers this year.

Requests received by the Santa Claus Fund has dropped through the years, Thiboutot said, but he didn’t know if it was due to the economy or other organizations providing similar services. Last year, the organization raised $34,503 and served 354 children. By comparison, in 1985, there were approximately 1,200 children served.

The Santa Claus Fund has also lost a handful of volunteers recently.

“We can always use packers,” Thiboutot said.

The organization is behind in donations thus far this year as well, which affects what can be spent on gifts next year. Because overhead costs are low, nearly all money received goes directly to gifts for the children.

Major purchases are made in partnership with local businesses. Renys and Joshua’s Tavern in Brunswick have been major partners and longtime supporters, and many other local businesses support the program.

Thiboutot, who has worked with the organization since 2012, said he just has to look at parents’ faces when they come to pick up the toys to motivate his drive to continue doing it.

With the supply of gifts the organization has for this year, Thiboutot hopes more families come forward for help. As long as children live within the service area and are 13 or younger, they get help, he said, noting there is no elaborate screening process or income level requirement to participate.

Donations are tax deductible, and all donations will be published in The Time Record or on the Santa Claus Fund Facebook page.

For those who wish to donate new toys, games, hats, mittens, gift cards or cash, they can bring the donations to the Elks Club at 179 Park Row in Brunswick or 9 Lambard St. in Bath and ring the doorbell. Arrangements can be made to have donations picked up as well.

Checks may be sent to: The Santa Claus Fund, P.O. Box 278, Brunswick, ME 04011.

To apply to the Santa Claus Fund, the custodial parent or legal guardian must write a letter, including:

• Reason for the request

• Complete street address (no P.O. boxes)

• Name, age (with date of birth) and gender of each child

• Telephone number where they can be reached (or the order won’t be processed)

Parents and guardians are responsible to check that the letter has been received, obtain the box number and information relative to gift pick-ups. Grandparents are asked to refrain from writing letters unless they have guardianship.

All letters must be postmarked by Dec. 8 and sent to:

Santa Claus Fund, Inc.

P.O. Box 278

Brunswick, ME 04011-0278

For more information, call (207) 751-6385.

[email protected]timesrecord.com

Upcoming Santa Fund events

• 22nd annual Santa Fund Charity Night and Auction — 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, Joshua’s Restaurant and Tavern, 123 Maine St., Brunswick.

• Jingle Jam — 3-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, Bath Lodge of Elks No. 934, 9 Lambard St., Bath. A festive day of music performed by some of Bath’s finest, including Robert “Elvis” Lewis, Savannah, Andy Johnson, Higmo & Tweed and Marshall Nelson Trio. The Bath Elks will be transformed into a winter wonderland for an afternoon and evening of music, games, food, craft tables for kids and appearances from Anna and Elsa from Frozen, and Santa (from 4-6 p.m.). There is a $5 suggested donation for adults and kids are free. Those attending are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift for a boy or girl to help the Santa Claus Fund “fill the trees.” All proceeds benefit the Santa Claus Fund.

• Taste of Maine Community Toy Drive — 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 17. Bring in a new unwrapped toy per person and get the buffet for $0.99; Santa will be in the house.


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