The Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis Club brought Christmas to dozens of families who otherwise could not have had such a cozy holiday season. Their Santa Project is held every year and ensures all families in the community are warm in body and spirit. The Kiwanis Club collects and purchases approximately 150 pairs of boots and even more coats. Each participating family receives a bag of toys, coats, boots, and other clothing for each child. Each bag is specifically filled and tailored to the receiving child’s size, color preferences, and particular interests. In addition to coats and a pair of boots, volunteers select toys to meet children’s wishes. This year’s toys included full-size kick boxing equipment, bikes, scooters, barbies, doll houses, and many more diverse, requested items. Each family also receives a holiday meal: a whole turkey, potatoes, squash, and cranberry sauce generously donated by the Abner Wade Lodge.
This event brought the community together. Many people and businesses in the community collaborated to give what they could to help those in need. 56 caring people, businesses, and various organizations “adopted” children, meaning they bought coats and toys for a child. This covered 93 children. The Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis Club donated infinite hours of service and financially sponsored the remaining 49 children while the GFWC/Miosac shopped and handpicked items to fulfill each child’s desire. Large businesses also generously donated to the project: New Balance donated $6,000 worth of merchandise, Pleasant River Lumber donated $2,500, the Congregational Church provided housing for supplies and disbursement, and the United Bikers of Maine’s Annual Toy Run donated countless toys.
Families came to the Congregational Church to receive their holiday cheer this past Saturday. More than 69 families participated, with as many as eight children to a family, totaling 142 kids. When asked if the event was successful, Barb Austin, organizer of the project, nodded a definitive “yes.” It was clear the project brought a very merry and warm Christmas to the families that might otherwise not have had the means to delight these 142 deserving children.
Foxcroft Academy’s Key Club worked closely with the Kiwanians. They organized the Reindeer Run to raise funds and toys to be donated and “adopted” three children. The event was successful in bringing the community together to amass more than 60 toys and nearly $150. In addition, Key Clubbers Alex Hung, Aaron Provost, Fern Morrison, Yea Ji, and Annie Xiao spent hours with the Kiwanians to help organize, fill, and check that bags had all needed items. They were also on hand to help this past Saturday when the families were given their items. “I am so glad to have been a part of this event,” said Key Clubber Fern Morrison. “It helped me understand the meaning of community and made me want to become more involved. It was really great seeing the happy faces of the families.”
“I felt like a ‘Santa’ when I was packing up children’s presents,” added Yea Ji. “When I started to help them it actually made me feel happy. Also I was hoping that the children would like the presents.”
This project will be a lasting memory for all those involved and was greatly appreciated by the entire community.
Written by Fern Morrison ’15. Top photo from dover-foxcroft.kiwanisone.org. Remaining photos from Fern Morrison.