April 05, 2020

Filling Santa’s sleigh

United Way of Aroostook, along with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program, WAGM-TV and civic clubs throught Aroostook, made it possible for almost 1,000 needy children in every corner of the county to have Christmas presents through our Santa’s Sleigh project.

Our sincere appreciation goes to Joe Howard of WAGM-TV for all his work in arranging for the drop-off sites at dozens of locations in every corner of Aroostook, and to the station for promoting the project so extensively. We were overwhelmed with the number of wonderful games, toys and gifts brought to us by U.S. Marine Sgt. Eric Trent and Sgt. Greg Donahue of the Toys for Tots program.

Again this year, our United Way was selected to receive a donation of hundreds of childrens’ gifts throug Gifts in Kind International. While the gifts were without charge, there was a fee for handling and transporting the donation to us. Rotary Clubs in Caribou, Presque Isle, Fort Fairfield and Houlton, as well as the Presque Isle and Easton Kiwanis Clubs made donations to cover the costs.

The gifts were distributed on Dec. 19 to town representatives for needy children. Towys were also provided for foster children through the Department of Human Services office in Fort Kent. The Battered Women’s Project was given gifts for 100 children in Caribou, Houlton and Presque Isle. The Salvation Army in Houlton also received toys from the Toys for Tots program.

This project demonstrated an extraordinary outpouring of caring and compassion for county children who might otherwise not have even a single gift on Christmas morning. As the representatives of town throughout the county came to pick up toys for children in their communities, it was heartwarming to hear and see their gratitude and appreciation. The Marines who delivered the cartons of toys from Toys for Tots, were obviously touched by the role they played in bringing these toys to the county.

We also want to extend our thanks to all those who purchased items to put in the drop boxes in stores and businesses throughout the county.

Because of the tremendous success of this year’s Santa’s Sleigh project in reaching children, United Way of Aroostook will work to organize another Santa’s Sleigh for 1998. Susanne W. Sandusky Executive director United Way of Aroostook Presque Isle

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