Dixfield woman starts Secret Santa program to help River Valley area senior citizens

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RUMFORD — A Dixfield woman launched her Senior Secret Santa Program this week to help River Valley senior citizens who may be in need this month.

In addition to seeking out seniors who might not have anything for Christmas, Kelly Mawhinney DeRoche is also looking for help from the public to buy a desired gift or commit to a request.

She will write each gift or request on a tag that will be placed on a decorated Christmas tree in the lobby of town attorney Jennifer Kreckel’s office at 95 Congress St. in Rumford starting Monday, Dec. 8. The program ends on Monday, Dec. 22, when the gifts will be distributed.

The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Fridays. The public is invited to pick a tag off the tree, which will have a written gift or request. Gifts may be dropped off back at the tree, Kreckel said Friday.

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“This is just something I felt I wanted to do this year,” DeRoche said. “I’m looking for people that might know of someone who would appreciate a gift or an errand completed, and people to pick a tag off the tree to help out. Hopefully, we will have more people calling in to give me more tags to put on the tree.”

The tags will have “whatever people feel they want to put on a tag on this tree,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a gift. It can simply be an hour of time or maybe an errand that somebody needs completed.”

DeRoche said she’s already posted information about the program on her Facebook page and several people have been sharing it to get the word out and volunteering their help.

“I am so excited about this project, and I pray that the community will help,” DeRoche said.

To offer assistance, call DeRoche at 357-5530 or Melinda Woods of Peru at 418-4205. They will also pick up gifts to bring back to the tree for distribution.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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