Auburn girls collect gifts for Make-A-Wish

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AUBURN — During the holiday season, it is wonderful to see young people realizing the true spirit of the season: giving.

Sisters Abigail Labonte, 6, and Jocelyn Labonte, 3, understand what it is to give and decided this year to have selfless birthdays in October. Both girls opted to collect donated goods for Make-A-Wish Maine instead of birthday gifts from friends and family.

Perhaps they learned this generosity from their grandmother, Connie Bilodeau of Auburn. Bilodeau has been a wish granting volunteer with Make-A-Wish Maine since 2008.

“The girls grew up watching me prepare gifts for the [wish] kids. Abigail tells Jocelyn, ‘You can’t touch these because they are for Memere’s Wish Kids,’” said Bilodeau. “They have been very supportive of this mission. Seeing all of these [toys] all over my den, they never once asked if they could have any of the things. They knew it was for the Make-A-Wish children.”

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Abigail and Jocelyn’s mother, Stacey Bilodeau LaBonte, said, “So proud of my girls! They have watched their Memere volunteer for Make-A-Wish for many years and wanted to help. And thank you to all who came to the party and generously donated!”

Make-A-Wish Maine collects small toys, books and backpacks to stock their Wish Closet for each of their travel wishes. Most wishes involve travel and the organization puts together a travel bag for each child going on the trip with a few items to keep them busy on their flight. From birthday parties to holiday parties, collecting items for the Make-A-Wish Maine Wish Closet is a great – and easy – way to give back.

The items most-needed right now are books, magazines, iTunes gift cards of no more than $10 and other items for tween and teenage wish children.

“It is always extra special when young kids come in after collecting toys or donations for our organization. Kids helping Wish Kids is one of the most generous acts we see each year,” said Meredith Jones, Donor Care manager at Make-A-Wish Maine. “Abigail and Jocelyn brought in so many gifts and you could tell how excited they were to share them with us. It was such a great way to celebrate their birthdays.”

Donations to the Make-A-Wish Maine Wish Closet may be made at their office at 477 Congress St., Suite M1 in Portland. For more information, call 207-221-2306.

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