For many, this time of year means gathering with family and friends for a special meal or an exchange of meaningful gifts. But putting food on the table or presents under the tree can be a struggle even in the best of times, and I know many in our community could use a helping hand. If you or your loved ones are looking for resources to help this holiday season – or if you’re in a position to give a little help instead – there are many local opportunities available.
Several local food pantries are offering food assistance specifically for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday traditions. The Boothbay Region Food Pantry, which serves Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Southport and Edgecomb, is distributing Hannaford vouchers for the holidays this year. To learn more, please call 350-2962. St. Philip’s Church in Wiscasset is putting together Thanksgiving and Christmas boxes as part of their Help Yourself Shelf. Thanksgiving boxes will be distributed on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and you can call 882-7184 or email HYSfoodpantry@gmail.com to reserve a box.
The Waldoboro Food Pantry, serving Waldoboro, Bremen and Nobleboro, has Thanksgiving baskets available for reservation. Pick up will be at the Town Office from 1 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 23. The Town of Waldoboro also has help available if a child in your life needs a toy, a winter coat or winter boots. You can learn more and request help by visiting the town’s website at cms9.revize.com/revize/waldoborome/, clicking “Departments” and then clicking on “Community Navigation/Assistance.”
Even if I haven’t listed the pantry closest to you here, you should still reach out to them if you need assistance. We have a number of pantries throughout Lincoln County and in neighboring towns that you can find by searching Good Shepherd Food Bank’s food map at www.gsfb.org/get-help/food-map/. Just as these pantries are available to help if you need it, they’re also looking for donations of funds or non-perishable items like canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats and tuna, and personal care items. Please call ahead to the pantry near you to see what items they’re most in need of before donating.
There are also resources if you need help providing holiday gifts for the kids in your life. Many of them have deadlines coming up in late November and early December. The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund helps provide children age infant to 16 who live in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties with age-appropriate gifts made possible by generous donors. You can learn more about how to donate and how to apply by visiting https://www.pressherald.com/toy-fund/. The deadline to apply is Nov. 30.
Healthy Kids is organizing a toy drive for kids in Lincoln County. Registration will open in early December and close on Dec. 10; you can register at www.healthykidsmaine.org or call 563-1818. The toy drive will take place Dec. 21 and 22. Caring for Kids of Bristol and South Bristol can help with toys, books and clothes for kids in these areas, too; please call 677-3300 for more information. Local assistance is also available for kids in Nobleboro through the Fire Department’s toy drive. Applications are being taken now through Dec. 4; please call 563-8816.
Finally, both the Boothbay Region YMCA and the Central Lincoln County YMCA are holding giving tree programs this year, where families in need will be represented by a tag on the tree. Community members who are able to help take a tag and return a gift with the tag attached to the YMCA. If you’re able to help buy a gift for a child, your help would be greatly appreciated. Tags will be available at the Boothbay YMCA and other locations in the community from Nov. 20 to Dec. 14, with wrapped gifts with tags returned to the YMCA by Dec. 14. For more information about the Central Lincoln County YMCA giving tree, please call 563-9622. Applications to participate in the Boothbay YMCA program have passed, but if your family needs help, you can apply for the Central Lincoln County YMCA program by Friday, Nov. 19 on their website: https://www.clcymca.org/tree-of-giving.
As you can see, there is a lot of help available to those who need it this time of year. It’s been a difficult year and a half, and this holiday season is the perfect time to give a little help if you can, or to ask for a hand if you need it. As always, if I can help connect you with any other resources or answer any of your questions, please reach out any time. You can email me at Chloe.Maxmin@legislature.maine.gov, call my cell phone at (207) 200-6224, follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/ChloeForSenate, or sign up for my regular e-newsletter at www.mainesenate.org