2011-12-30 / Local

Thanks for making this a wonderful year

Santa Claus Fund

We started off the year without a home for the Santa Claus Fund. Then the Access Self Storage Company in Topsham came to our rescue.

From the new North Pole Annex that Access Self Storage made available to us, the Santa Claus Fund began our program of offering help to children who were less fortunate than others. We estimated that local parents would request our help for about 500 children.

We were wrong. We received requests to help 626 children in 2011. We didn’t skip a beat. We accepted the challenge and filled all the requests that arrived in time.

We appealed to you, our readers, for extra help. You did not disappoint. The extra toys, the additional hats and mittens came in steadily.

The biggest news of all is that we raised $40,185.92! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, you made it happen.

On this last day of reporting, I can tell you that we received a $1,000 check from the Reny Charitable Foundation. It could not have been timelier. We want to thank the Reny Charitable Foundation for this wonderful gift.

Renys is such a huge partner with the Santa Claus Fund, and they have been for many years. They have been our major supplier of toys for many years. Thank you to Renys Department Stores Inc. and the company’s employees, who continue to help us whenever we call on them.

This year I had a lot of help. We recruited new people and they responded like veterans.

Our seasoned volunteers helped me in many ways. I depended a lot on Bud Aumick, past exalted ruler of the Brunswick Elks Lodge. He did everything that was asked of him and many things he did on his own. I owe him big time. Thank you, Bud.

At this time, I should mention his wife, Jean, who has seen many years with the Santa Claus Fund and who kept things moving in the packing room. That was one less thing for me to worry about. Thank you, Jean.

Lyni McCreary, our office manager, has been with the Santa Fund for many years, too. Her efforts to manage the requests that came in the mail were invaluable. Thank you, Lyni.

Then there was Mort Hamlin, treasurer and adviser. His counsel was always welcomed. Diane Hamlin, who kept the all the sweet desserts coming, is a seasoned veteran of the Santa Claus Fund. Thank you, Mort and Diane.

Lots of other volunteers pitched in, and I want to thank them all. Among them are Joe Fournier, a member and a trustee of the Brunswick Elks; Helen Fretz, a member of the Bath Elks; Tina Black, Bath Elks; and Carl Marciniak, a new volunteer from the Brunswick Elks.

Al Bourque, a new volunteer, and his wife, Dawn, a longtime volunteer, are both are members of the Brunswick Elks.

Thanks to volunteers David McElwain, a Bath Elk, and Thomas Elliott Jr., a past exalted ruler and a district deputy from the Brunswick Elks.

Thanks to William Waite, a master chief of command at Brunswick Naval Air Station and former chairman of the Santa Claus Fund from Brunswick, and to Sharon Belanger, a new volunteer from the Brunswick Elks.

Leon McCreary, past exalted ruler from the Bath Elks and secretary for the Santa Claus Fund, and Michael Murphy, past exalted ruler and volunteer, helped the cause.

Thanks to Dudley Leavitt, a new volunteer and a member of the Brunswick Lodge, and David Raymond and his wife, Barbara, volunteer and friends of the Santa Claus Fund. Their daughter, Mary Wilson, did a wonderful job in her first year with the Santa Claus Fund.

Rodney Talbot, a seasoned volunteer and our truck driver, distributed the toys. Donna Barrett, a real organizer and fastest packer in the East, and her husband, Bill Barrett, are volunteers and friends of the Santa Claus Fund.

Marshall Beaudoin, a rookie volunteer, jumped in this year with guns blazing. His wife, Marcia, who can do everything, is a seasoned veteran and friend of the Santa Claus Fund.

Angela Brackett is a Brunswick Elk and business manager at the Brunswick Elks Lodge. Dawn Burton, a Bath Elk and business manager for the Bath Lodge, also helped.

Thanks to Irene Irvine, a Brunswick Emblem Club member and veteran volunteer, and to Linda Bauer, a rookie this year, but you wouldn’t know it. She is a trustee at the Brunswick Elks Lodge. Her husband, Rodney Bauer, current exalted ruler of the Brunswick Lodge, is a rookie this year too. Both were great assets.

Thanks to Bill Fretz, a Bath Elk and seasoned volunteer, and to Beverly Grey, a secondyear volunteer and friend of the Santa Claus Fund. Michael Eastman is a Brunswick Elk and a tireless helper whenever called upon.

I’m grateful to Patrick Forestal, a new volunteer and friend of the Santa Claus Fund; to Rick Pierson, a Brunswick Elk who always lends a hand; and to Rachel Thalen, who is a seasoned volunteer and friend of the Santa Claus Fund.

I thank Ruth Desjardins, my wife, who many evenings assisted me with these daily reports.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am in your debt. I couldn’t do it without you.

These folks arrived every day at 8 a.m. and stayed until the work was done. They worked very hard to “put a smile on a child Christmas morning.” They believe in the project and proved it each day.

The Santa Claus Fund cannot say enough about the ownership of Joshua’s Restaurant and Tavern. T.J and Sheri Siatras continue to take on this enormous project to help our kids. The Joshua’s Santa Claus Fund Auction raises about 25 percent of our revenue almost every year. A great deal of time and effort goes into the preparation of this auction. I want to extend my personal thank you to all involved with their auction.

I do not want to forget the Two Buck Club for their contribution again this year at the auction. It’s a wonderful thing you folks do for our kids.

I also wish to thank all of our suppliers for their help this year. You all did a great job getting our orders in on time and complete.

I want to thank Walmart for their $2,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation. Thank you to Tag Martin, the store manager in Brunswick, for his support in acquiring the grant.

To the ownership, management and staff at the Access Self Storage facility in Topsham, we are in your debt. We enjoyed every day at the climate controlled storage facility. Samantha, Merry Lee and Bill, never complained once about Santa Claus Fund volunteers bothering them each day to unlock the bins for us. Thank you, friends.

Our thanks go out to the sixth-graders at Brunswick Junior High School for their donation and hard work. Their continued support of our project is really appreciated.

While discussing schools, I must thank the teachers and staff from the Harriet Beecher Stowe School. The toys and checks they sent helped us fill a late shortage of items at the end of the campaign.

The Blueberry Hill Nursery School did a marvelous job selling all those candles and then donating the proceeds to our kids. Thank you.

To Cub Scout Troop 648 of Topsham, thank you for dinner and all the toys you provided. Hampton Hughes and Dave Remis, we owe you guys a big thank you too.

We thank the Girl Scouts from Troop 311 for helping with the toy selection this year. We couldn’t have been in better hands. And thank you to Jennifer Dolham, troop leader for the Scouts. We hope to bring back more of the girls to help next year.

The Harry S. Crooker and Sons annual contribution put us over the top each year. Thanks for being a partner with the Santa Claus Fund.

I have so many of you to thank, but I can’t do it all here. I tried to thank all our benefactors each night when we reported your donations.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the business community. You have responded so generously every year. We realize it isn’t easy every time we come knocking.

Of course, I must thank our readers and loyal supporters, who make my day every day. I am so overwhelmed by the way you have answered our daily request for assistance. I loved the cards and short notes of good wishes. The people of greater Bath and Brunswick are the best. Thank you for supporting our program with creative items from very talented people, or from avid toy shoppers, or from the generous contributions of so many. We are a team and without all of you, it wouldn’t have worked.

I have been writing to you for five years now, and I have enjoyed my daily visits with you. I hope you enjoyed some of my philosophical views, as well as my personal stories of friends and family. It has been my pleasure to bring you a little more insight into what goes on at the Santa Claus Fund.

The Santa Claus Fund is something like the story of “the little engine that could.” We may be small, but we leave a big footprint.

Thanks to Managing Editor Robert Long and his staff for keeping us in prime real estate in the daily paper. The Times Record is so vital to the success of this program because it allows us to come into your homes each day.

It has been a great opportunity for me to chair this fund for the last five years. It has been my pleasure to serve you.

Sincerely,

Dave Desjardins chairman

Santa Claus Fund Inc.

Return to top