Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Thursday, April 28, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 17

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11/6/2013 2:00:00 PM
Family Holiday Wishes Sets Program In Motion

This year The Positive Matters Foundation expects to receive calls to help over 600 children throughout Lincoln County through its Family Holiday Wishes Program.

Since its beginning in 2001, Family Holiday Wishes has become the primary holiday assistance program for 11 towns in Lincoln County, supporting four other programs.

"This is our 12th year," said Positive Matters Executive Director Cynthia Simonds, "We are seeing people reach out much sooner this season. The helpline has been ringing off the hook since we opened the line on Nov. 1."

The Family Holiday Wishes Helpline receives hundreds of inquiries each year from families who need assistance. Unemployment, major illness and the rising cost of living are challenges faced by many local families.

"In order for them to maintain some sense of consistency, they will turn to us for help," Simonds said. "We want to give them a sigh of relief knowing that their children will have a warm coat, boots, gifts under the tree and their tummies full this Christmas."

When a family calls, they are greeted by intake coordinator, Sarah Lane. "She is compassion personified," Simonds said. "Sarah has been working with us in some integral way since we started. Her dedication to helping families in need is unparalleled. We couldn't do this without her."

Each family is assigned a number to maintain anonymity. Callers are asked to create a three-item wish list for their children. Each wish is then written on a pink or blue wish tag. The wish tags are posted on wish trees placed in local businesses around Lincoln County.

"When families wish for diapers or formula, socks or mittens, we know the need is great," Simonds said. "We have seen basic needs skyrocket. That makes us want to give more to make the holiday an especially happy one."

Wish trees and drop boxes will be available in the following locations: The Alna Store in Alna, Louis Doe Hardware, Postal Center USA and Mexicali Blues in Newcastle, Cheney Insurance, CLC YMCA, Damariscotta Hardware, Maine Coast Books, Renys Underground, Eleanor and Anita's Salon and Salt Bay Café in Damariscotta and Ames Supply, Wiscasset Community Center, Lincoln County Courthouse and Wiscasset Town Office in Wiscasset.

Families are encouraged to call immediately if they know they will need assistance. "The earlier the better," said Simonds. "The sooner we know who needs help and what the children are wishing for; the better chance we have of fulfilling the wishes. All of the local programs work together to support each other. Every one has the same goal in mind- to keep the magic alive for as many local children as possible.

"It's all about the smiles on those little faces. Knowing they can believe. That's why all our elves make such an incredible effort every year."

The Positive Matters Foundation Family Holiday Wishes Program assists those in Alna, Bremen, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Jefferson, Newcastle, Somerville, Westport Island, Whitefield and Wiscasset.

To volunteer, donate a toy, sponsor a family meal or request help please call 350-7799. All requests for assistance are confidential.

(Submitted article)



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