Let’s All Have a Merrier Christmas Taking Applications and Donations

Steve Clark of the Nook and Cranny purchased several winter boots for the Let’s All Have a Merrier Christmas program. “Since it was brought to Steve’s attention, he wanted to help these families by donating ten pairs of brand new boots to those in need,” said Sarah Norton. Clark replied with his restaurant’s approach to being part of the community: “We are always there for those who care.” (Photo by Nada Williams-White)

By Lura Jackson

Every holiday season in Washington County, there is a phenomenon of giving that sees the collection and distribution of precious gifts and clothing to the children most in need in our area. For the past 34 years, Let’s All Have a Merrier Christmas has been facilitating miniature miracles that have made the season that much brighter for both its participants and its recipients. This year, 600 children across Washington County will be receiving gifts through the volunteer organization, up from 500 in 2016.

Families with children that do not have enough to make ends meet can apply to the program online. Requests for specific gifts and clothing can be made and volunteers will do their best to fulfill them. The goal of the program is to provide every child in need with an article of warm clothing and a new toy.

Every year, the number of children that the program serves increases, shares organizer Rhonda French. Potentially eligible children are suggested by those familiar with local families, including schools and organizations. “It’s sad that the need is greater, but it’s good that we find out about them,” French said. “The more we know about, the more that we know those children are getting taken care of.”

The impact of Let’s All Have a Merrier Christmas is ongoing and profound. Volunteers in the program – many of whom are youth themselves – learn the value and importance of giving to those in need, while recipients learn that there are people they may not know that care about them and their happiness. Since the program began in 1984, some of the early recipients in the program have since become volunteers – fulfilling a role that they once sincerely benefited from.

Some volunteer groups have come in to help meet the need, including the JMG Club from Jonesport-Beals. The club has organized a Polar Dip on December 8th to raise funds for the program.

With so many children being assisted this year, French said the program is in “serious need of donations.” She adds, “We would also like to encourage groups to put their heads together to think of how they can help, whether it be shopping for children on the list, doing a fundraiser, et cetera.”

 

Applications to request assistance for children in need can be made online until November 30th at the following address: merrierchristmas.com/apply-online. To reach French with questions, suggestions, or to volunteer, email rhonda@merrierchristmas.com.