The Lobster Boat Race Committee presents the Harpswell Santa Fund with a donation check. Pictured are Parker Bradbury, Noah Bradbury, Mary Coombs, Amanda Peacock, Maura Macdonald, Melissa Babb and Sophia Voltin. George Bradbury photo

After collecting $21,000 in donations, the Harpswell Santa Fund will continue its tradition of giving gifts, clothing and fuel to Harpswell families in need this December.

“This fund is important to the community, because when times are tough, it’s a relief to be able to have a little breathing room,” said Santa Fund volunteer Mary Coombs.

The largest donation came from the Lobster Boat Race Committee, which donated $16,000, up $5,000 from last year, thanks in large part to increased attendance at the annual race. Coombs said funds were raised through apparel and raffle ticket sales at the lobster boat races in July.

Coombs said all remaining donations were made anonymously.

Those wishing to donate toys can visit any of the collection sites at Harpswell Realty Group on Orrs Island, Uncle Pete’s Community Market, Bailey’s Island General Store and The School House 1913, which is hosting a brunch on Dec. 4, with a portion of sales going to back the Santa Fund.

A group of local lobstermen founded the Harpswell Santa Fund in 1991 when they took up a Christmas collection for the family of a fisherman and friend who had died at sea. Continuing in his honor for over 20 years, the Harpswell Santa Fund has assisted thousands of residents during the holidays, according to harpswellsanta.org.

Residents looking for assistance from the Santa Fund can send an email with their name, address and phone number, and the name, age and clothing sizes of their children to [email protected] Coombs said requests should be sent by Dec. 15.

“We hope that the community reaches out and asks for help,” Coombs said. “It’s totally anonymous, and the only question asked is if you live in Harpswell.”

For more information, visit harpswellsanta.org.

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