2011-12-01 / News

Everything’s in place at the North Pole Annex


A VOLUNTEER EFFORT by Bath and Brunswick Elks to ensure that local children in need receive Christmas gifts. Updates written by a Santa Claus Fund volunteer appear in each edition of The Times Record from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. A VOLUNTEER EFFORT by Bath and Brunswick Elks to ensure that local children in need receive Christmas gifts. Updates written by a Santa Claus Fund volunteer appear in each edition of The Times Record from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. The Santa Claus Fund is three days into the campaign, and the volunteers packed away toys for boys and girls for the entire service area.

The scene at the North Pole Annex is very calm now that the volunteers have spent three days in our new home. One volunteer mentioned it was working better than he expected. That was gratifying to hear, because I made the final decision to relocate here.

We did move things around a bit to make easier access for some categories.

The most frequent dilemma volunteers experience is whether a toy matches up to a particular age group. For instance if a box is marked for “age 10 plus,” does that mean a 13-year-old will like it too? Does a remote control helicopter work for both a boy and a girl?

Decisions are often discussed with other volunteers. It doesn’t take very long for the volunteers to agree and the toy usually goes into the box.

I know my place and I stay out of it. What works for them, works for me.

The selection of toys is a lot of fun for the team. It’s like opening presents and seeing what’s in the next box.

We have the toys and we are here to help. If you need some assistance this year, then write to us. It will only take a few minutes of your time. Please understand that you must be the parent or legal guardian of the child.

We require that you live in our service area, which includes Bath, Woolwich, Phippsburg, West Bath, Sebasco, Popham, Brunswick, Topsham, Harpswell, Bailey Island, Orr’s Island, Great Island, Cundy’s Harbor, Richmond, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Dresden, Richmond, Durham and Five Islands.

Then list your full name, your legal street address, and a phone number where we can contact you. Then list the name or names of your children, their genders and their dates of birth.

Get your request in the mail as soon as possible. Our address is The Santa Claus Fund Inc., P.O. Box 278, Brunswick, ME 04011.

Wait two days for the mail to reach us, then call 319-9317 to check on your request. If it has been processed and approved, we will issue you a box number and give you a date and a location where you can pick up your box.

Don’t be discouraged if we haven’t received it. Sometimes it takes three days for the mail to reach us. Just call us back again the following day. Just be sure you get to us by Dec. 16. That is the last day that we will process your letters.

The toys leave our workshop on the following Monday morning, Dec. 19. There are just 16 days to get your letter into our office.

We won’t be able to receive any hand-delivered letters this year because of security logistics at our new home. Please bear that in mind. The mailman will do his job, but you must take action right away to avoid disappointing your child on Christmas.

It is all up to you, parents. We are ready to help so get your letters in now.

We processed eight more letters this morning, bringing the total number of letters approved to 52. We added eight boys and nine girls to our total. That makes 47 boys, and 50 girls. We are now at 97 children who will receive gifts from the Santa Claus Fund.

We are only three days into our campaign and we are averaging 33 children each day. There are 16 days remaining, and I think we are going to get “slammed” by week’s end.

We are getting the message out to the people through this newspaper every week day. If you know someone who might need our help, give them our address, and we will do the rest.

I do have a couple of corrections concerning some omissions and mistakes in Wednesday’s column. We omitted Barbara Johansen’s donation that was made “in memory of Arthur Johansen, one of the original and former Santa’s Helpers, and in memory of our daughter Debbie Johansen.” I apologize to Mrs. Johansen for the error.

We also had a donation listed as $50 and it was a $20 donation. So Wednesday’s total should have been $1490, not $1520.

The mailbag also included a contribution today from Mr. Walter Philips and his wife, Joan, who sent us $50. Mary E. Mc Williams donated $100. Dale S. Green mailed us $25 in memory of Michael Green.

Sara Louise and Charles Mull sent $50. The Unity Circle of Phippsburg donated $100, and Mr. James Peavey donated $50.

Elizabeth M. Niven donated $150. Ms. Joan Brewer sent $25, and Eleanor M. Morrell donated $200.

Mr. David B. Osborne donated $100, and an anonymous donor mailed us $25.

Thank you so much, friends of the Santa Claus Fund. I also want to thank you for your cards and notes that you send along with your donations. I read them all and truly enjoy them.

I am starting a new policy of showing them off on our wall of Santa Claus Fund contributors. I want to share them with all the volunteers and an occasional visitor. I know the team will love them too.

Today’s contributions totaled $875. The new total is $2,365. Thank you very much. We are moving forward toward that goal of $30,000.

If you would like to join our team in helping others this holiday season, you can do so by sending a tax-deductible donation to The Santa Claus Fund Inc., P.O. Box 278, Brunswick, ME 04011.

Your donation will be published as soon as we receive it. If you would like to donate in memory of a loved one, just let us know. We are happy to note it.

Our team of volunteers will be on the job today and Friday at 8 a.m., and they stay until each letter is processed and the toy boxes are filled with that special name on it. These are wonderful people here at the annex, and I can’t say enough about them.

They volunteer their precious time without hesitation. And they work very hard to keep our mission statement intact. Those who read this column each day already know what it is, but there may be many of you reading this report for the first time.

Our mission is to “Put a Smile on a Child Christmas Morning.” We adopted this slogan five years ago, and I think it expresses what we are all about. And I feel our readers have adopted it too, because you have responded so well every year.

If you haven’t joined our team up to now, this would be a good year to do it, because the need is so great. Children don’t know what recession means, but they do feel disappointment if Santa doesn’t make an appearance Dec. 25.

Won’t you please take that next step, and make a contribution? Thank you.

I’ll return Friday with more news from the North Pole Annex.

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