Christmas / Winter Support

Christmas / Winter Essentials Program

Sharing joy and winter warmth with kids and families

Two pairs of hands wearing winter gloves and mittens hold heart-shaped snow balls.

What is Christmas / Winter Essentials Program?

The Maine Children’s Home Christmas / Winter Essentials Program is the only one of its kind that provides brand new mittens, gloves, hats, boots, jackets, underwear, socks, a warm outfit, pajamas, toys, books, and games to more than 1,100 Maine children whose families are facing financial hardship.

This program relies on the generosity of donors, volunteers, and community supporters who provide financial support, their time, and in-kind inventory gifts. We connect families to additional community resources as needed to help them achieve their desired future and quality of life.
 

Gifts of brand new items for this program are accepted year-round! Registration for becoming a recipient of Christmas / Winter Essentials Program open in early October each year.

GREAT THANKS to New Balance Foundation and Marden's and the Friends of Maine Children's Home for making this support a reality for so many Maine children!

The MCH Well-Being Toolkit Sponsored by the New Balance Foundation

Every family in Christmas  / Winter Essentials Program is offered a Well-Being Toolkit sponsored by the New Balance Foundation. This coloring booklet is full of playful activities for practicing healthy habits, such as staying hydrated, eating fruits and veggies, exercising, and practicing mindfulness.


Five Ways to Support Our Christmas / Winter Essentials Program

There are many ways to support MCH's Christmas / Winter Essentials Program, but below are the five most common. For more information about Christmas / Winter Essentials Program at MCH, please contact us by calling 207-873-4253, extension 228) or via email.

1. Give New Items on Our “Urgent Needs” List

Christmas / Winter Essentials Program often needs specific items, since the program provides gifts with individual children’s interests, hobbies, and clothing sizes in mind. A regularly updated “Urgent Needs” list containing requests for specific items is published on this web page and on MCH social media platforms leading up to the holiday season. 

All items given must be newly purchased and in original packaging free of dents, tears, or dirt. 

The Current Urgent Needs List

The Urgent Needs list typically consists of the most popular and needed items to help Christmas / Winter Essentials Program volunteers and staff serve specific families during the holiday season.

How and Where to Drop off Gifts of Items

Item gifts to Christmas / Winter Essentials Program can be dropped off at the "Donation Drop-Off Point", which is the basement door on the right side of the Evergreen Building (the 2nd building on the right after entering the MCH campus at 93 Silver Street in Waterville). Donors can drive around the back side of the Evergreen Building to access the Donation Drop-Off Point. Gifts can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Those who drop off item gifts are asked to please fill out a gift slip to leave with their item bag or box, and to label their gift with “ATTN: Christmas / Winter Essentials Program.”  

Shipments should be addressed to: 

Christmas / Winter Essentials Program at Maine Children’s Home
93 Silver Street
Waterville, ME, 04901

When to Give Items – Never Too Early, Never Too Late

Item gifts are greatly needed and deeply appreciated all year long, as volunteers and staff at Christmas / Winter Essentials Program must build inventory throughout the year in order to meet the needs of all of the families who are served by this program. All gifts made earlier than the holiday season are greatly appreciated.

Item gifts received after this holiday season will be used to prepare for the next holiday season. There is no such thing as a gift that is “too early” or “too late”.


2. Purchase Items on Our Amazon Wishlist

Every year, volunteers and staff organize an Amazon Wishlist to make it easier for donors to purchase items by ordering online and shipping directly to Christmas / Winter Essentials Program at MCH. 

Donors choosing this option are encouraged to select the “this is a gift” option in Amazon, and to include their full name and contact information under the gift card section. This allows the Christmas / Winter Essentials Program team to know who the gift is coming from.

Shop in Our Amazon Wishlist

Amazon shipments should be addressed to: 

Christmas / Winter Essentials Program at Maine Children’s Home
93 Silver Street
Waterville, ME, 04901


3. Participate in Our Giving Tree Campaign

Mardens DonationGiving Tree is a three-month campaign leading up to the holiday season in which local businesses or organizations generously volunteer to support Christmas / Winter Essentials Program in one or more of the following ways: by hosting a Giving Tree display of Giving Tree Tags, holding a toy drive, becoming a gift collection spot, by posting a Giving Tree poster with online giving options, by making a monetary gift, or all of the above!

Marden’s has generously collected monetary gifts from their customers in their Red Stocking Program leading up to the holidays.

If you and your business would like to host a Giving Tree to help your patrons and employees give to Christmas / Winter Essentials Program, contact Amanda Simmons for Giving Tree Tags and information.


4. Become a Volunteer!

Christmas / Winter Essentials Program requires so many hours of organizing and planning to supply boxes of gifts to 1,200 children. This is why volunteers are so important to this program.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, contact Program Director Amanda Simmons by email or call 207-873-4253 (Ext. 228) to get involved! You can also learn more about volunteer opportunities at MCH on the volunteer page.


5. Make a Monetary Gift

Monetary gifts to Christmas / Winter Essentials Program help with the costs of the program, such as purchasing specific items or clothing sizes when there is a shortage. 

Make a Monetary Donation


Your Gift Will End Up in the Hands of a Real Child

When a child opens a gift from Christmas / Winter Essentials Program, it is the program’s hope that the child feels special and thinks: “this gift was meant for only me, and I am the first person to own it.”

Christmas / Winter Essentials Program strives to provide high-quality gifts that are tailored to the requests for each individual child — real Maine kids. These real kids are the reason why the program accepts only newly purchased items that are in their original packaging — free of dents, tears, and dirt.

 


Thank You to Our Supporters and Sponsors

All of the work it takes to provide 1,200 children with gifts and winter essentials during the holiday season is made possible due to the support of our generous community. Thank you!

Thank You to Our Supporters & Locations

  • Central Maine Credit Union
  • Connected Credit Union in Augusta
  • Connected Credit Union in Winslow
  • cPort Credit Union
  • First Congregational Church of Pittston
  • Franklin-Somerset Credit Union in Skowhegan
  • Franklin-Somerset Credit Union in Madison
  • Franklin-Somerset Credit Union in Farmington
  • KSW Federal Credit Union
  • Maple Valley Pharms
  • New Dimensions Credit Union in Waterville
  • New Dimensions Credit Union in Winslow
  • New Dimensions Credit Union in Skowhegan
  • Reform Physical Therapy
  • Traverse Coffee Co.

Thank You to Our Giving Tree Hosts, Gift Drive Hosts, & Collections Sites

  • Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
  • Charlies Honda
  • Chateau Cushnoc
  • Connected Credit Union in Augusta
  • Connected Credit Union in Winslow
  • Crooker Construction, LLC
  • Damon's Beverage in Augusta
  • Damon's Beverage in Waterville
  • Elanco
  • Foley's Fitness Center, LLC
  • Four Seasons Family Practice
  • Holy Cannoli
  • JCPenney in Waterville
  • Kleinfelder
  • Maine Molecular Quality Controls Inc
  • Mainely Tubs
  • NEUCO
  • Northern Light Inland Hospital
  • People's Salon & Spa
  • Pleasant Street United Methodist Church
  • Reform Physical Therapy
  • Traverse Coffee Co.
  • TNT Dance Studio
  • WatervilleCreates! & Waterville Opera House
  • UPS

Thank You to Our Sponsor:

 

Sponsor: New Balance Foundation

 

 

And Our Key Supporters:

 

Supporter: Marden's Surplus and Salvage

 

The Friends of Maine Children's Home

 

And Additional Supporters:
sappi north america somerset

 

Huhtamaki logo

 

toys for tots logo

 

Pajama Program logo

 

Click here to see a list of Christmas Program’s organizational supporters.

 


The 2023 Winter Season was Another Success!Christmas Program Impact Map for 2023

In 2023, we provided winter essentials to 1,181 children from 541 families!

Our Christmas / Winter Essentials Program reached 141 towns across all 16 counties of Maine. Every child received a box of brand new warm clothing, boots, books, toys, games, and more.

We accept only new items for gifts.

 

 


Support Christmas / Winter Essentials Program

Monetary gifts to Christmas / Winter Essentials Program help with the costs of running the program, such as purchasing specific items or clothing sizes when there is a shortage. In addition to monetary gifts, gifts of items listed on the current Urgent Needs list help make sure that every child and family gets their Christmas Program needs met.

Donate Today


Want more information about Christmas / Winter Essentials Program?

For more information about Christmas / Winter Essentials Program at MCH, please contact us by calling 207-873-4253, extension 228 or via email.