PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Children all across Maine are making their holiday wish lists. While it's a time of year when it's okay to ask for toys and clothes and other gifts, some can get caught up in thinking only of themselves.
Many organizations across the state offer ways for children to feel connected to holiday giving.
At The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, the Holiday Gift Drive offers people the opportunity to sponsor children by sharing their wish list. Sponsors learn the child's age, gender and favorite color and agree to purchase some or all of the items on the wish list. This year, they are helping 800 children, and there are still more than 50 who need sponsors.
The Root Cellar in Portland, a ministry on the East End, helps people find jobs, learn English and offers after-school care for kids.
Donations of new toys and clothing are set up in a store and families who qualify can go holiday shopping at a vastly reduced cost. Money raised goes back into programming. Even a plate of home baked cookies is welcome and appreciated.
"We get excited when people want to bake things and show up for snack time after school," said Becky Merriman.
Most kids love animals, and the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook has its own holiday wish list for dogs, cats and critters. Kids who donate money or food or hay will get to see how they are helping.
"We take them through, give them a tour, let them see the animals and how their donation is directly helping homeless animals," said Jeana Roth of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.
The Salvation Army has set up Angel Trees across the state. They have tags with children's names, ages and the gifts they want. You pick out a tag, buy a gift and bring it to the Salvation Army. You can also sponsor a family for gift giving, or even help sort toys.
These are a few of the organizations that offer ways for children to connect to giving. There are many, and they are all happy for the help this time of year.