LISBON – The town of Lisbon is collaborating with Catholic Charities Maine Family Child Care on its local Christmas project, the Lisbon Giving Tree, for the 22nd year. Lisbon High School and the town office put up a tree.

The Lisbon Giving Tree is different in that the recipients are asked what they need. The referrals come from various social service agencies that serve residents of Lisbon, Durham, Sabattus and Bowdoin, but mostly they come from the four town offices. Families who need help can go to their town office to apply. The gift tags are coded and the names are kept confidential.

Special gift tags show a code, the age and sex of the child and the gift requested. People choose a tag, then return the gift, with the original tag attached, to the tree. The coded tags will be replaced with a gift tag from Santa and delivered by the agency or town office that referred the family originally.

Angel tags are hung on each tree to cover tags still hanging near the due date each year. They ask for a cash donation. Then volunteer shoppers go shopping.

Carolyn Davis, director of Catholic Charities Family Child Care, has some concern for this year. “Because the cost of heating oil is so expensive this year, the highest it has ever been, we are afraid that many families will be more strapped than ever. The purpose of this project is to ensure that Lisbon area families have an opportunity to pay their heating bills and also celebrate Christmas.”

The gifts are due back at the Lisbon Falls Community Library by Saturday, Dec. 18, and at the area churches by Sunday, Dec. 19. The final sorting and distribution will start the next day at the MTM building, as the library is now open on Mondays.

Because some gifts come unwrapped from volunteer knitters and the Salvation Army, the project will accept donations of wrapping paper, gift bags, bows, tags, ribbon, tape and tissue paper. Those should be dropped off at the Lisbon Town Office or at the Lewiston Catholic Charities Maine office at 15 Westminster St., Lewiston.

Those wishing to volunteer for the sorting or last-minute shopping should contact Judy Goddard at 353-3000 or Carolyn Davis at 786-0925.

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