Christmas Program at Maine Children’s Home is accepting applications from families who want to receive assistance providing gifts for their children this holiday season.

“We actually begin prep for the holiday giving season in July at Maine Children’s Home,” Christmas Program Director Amanda Simmons said in a news release from the Waterville-based organization. “We accept donations all year long, but over the past few months, we’ve been organizing and checking our inventory in preparation for a busy season before opening up the application process to families.”

Christmas Program at MCH is the only one of its kind that provides brand new clothes, winter essentials, toys, books and games to 1,200 Maine children whose families are facing financial hardship. This program relies on the generosity of many people — donors, volunteers and community supporters — and also connects families to resources for mental health and parenting support.

The program is intended for Maine families who have no other way of providing gifts for their children up to age 12.

To qualify, families must:

• Meet state income guidelines (133% of the federal poverty level);
• agree not to accept holiday assistance from any other organization (except food support);
• be the parent or legal guardian of the children for whom they are applying;
• apply only for children who are ages 12 or younger;
• provide social security numbers for each income-earning individual in the household;
• provide their annual gross household income and any food stamps or child support received;
• be willing to provide proof of income; and
• be able to pick up their gift boxes from Maine Children’s Home campus in Waterville;


While gifts from the program do vary, each child typically receives:
• Hat and mittens set;
• pajamas;
• an outfit of warm clothing;
• toothbrush and toothpaste;
• a coloring/activity book with crayons or markers;
• two toys; and
• a game for the family to share.

The program does not provide game systems, video games, video game cartridges, electronics, cell phones or “big ticket” items, and does not give out gift cards.

At the start of the season, the organization is making a public call for donations of the following items:

• Family games (ages 7-12);
• batteries (sizes AAA, 9V);
• thinsulate-lined gloves/mittens;
• coloring books with dinosaurs, princesses and older kid themed;
• jumbo size eight-count crayons;
• Legos (ages 8-12);
• girls shirts and pants (size 2T and 7/8);
• girls shirts (size 10/12);
• girls pajamas (sizes 8, 10, 12, 18);
• boys shirts (size 6 and 12);
• boys pants (size 8); and
• boys pajamas (sizes 10, 12, 14/16, 18).

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