ELLSWORTH — Christmas is less than a month away and the Downeast Community Partners Christmas program will be kicking off its first toy drive.
For the last 20 years, this program is known to help families in need during the holiday season, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to switch things up.
“This year with COVID-19 going on, we are seeing a higher demand for help during the holiday season. This year, we decided to do a toy drive to supplement the generous donors we already have,” said Bobbi Harris, housing services director at Downeast Community Partners.
During the 2019 holiday season, nearly 350 children received Christmas gifts through this program.
Cheryl Robbins, who has been involved with the program for 18 years, said the donations were below normal this year.
“At this time, we have about 260 kids and it hasn’t even reached December 1st. We do it right up until Christmas eve and I expect it to be at about 450 kids this year,” said Cheryl Robbins, transportation services director at Downeast Services director at DCP.
Donors can bring a new, unwrapped toy and monetary donations to the drive until Thursday, Dec. 24 at Maine Coast Mall, at the side of TJ Maxx.
“It is so much work. I have some really good helpers and it’s very rewarding. When I used to be able to see the kids and the parents come in and get some of the stuff, the look on their face and sometimes tears,” said Sharrie Curtis, program administrator at DCP.
To learn more about the Christmas Magic toy drive, please visit the DCP website.