WILTON — Warm clothing and toys are being requested as part of the 38th annual Operation Santa Claus in Franklin County this year.

The program, organized by the Community Service staff of Western Maine Community Action, is doing well so far working from WMCA’s new Service Center on Church Street in East Wilton, said Cindy Brophy who works along with Judy Frost, Community Service program manager for WMCA on the program. The Service Center is the site of the former Head Start next to WMCA’s administrative building.

During the next three weeks requested Christmas presents will be gathered and wrapped by volunteers for children around Franklin County.

“There is an increase in requests but people are making more basic requests this year. They’re asking for warm boots instead of bicycles and things that are not too expensive,” Brophy said. “They’re also asking for simpler toys like board games, dolls and trucks, not expensive toys.”

The program, which serves children up to age 18 as long as they are still in school, started in the 1970s when members of local fire department personnel dressed up like Santa and community members helped deliver the gifts, she said. They are trying to go back to that, she said.

Two days will be set aside for recipients to pick up gifts in East Wilton, if they choose, but everything else is delivered.


Gift tags have been delivered to some area churches, Verso Paper Corp., banks and credit unions. It’s a real community effort, she said.

A tree with gift request tags was set up over the weekend at Walmart. Donors can select a tag and purchase an item there to leave under the tree or purchase elsewhere and drop off at the service center.

“Some are walking in to the center with homemade hats and mittens,” she said. “The elderly knit and crochet all year long and bring items in for the program.”

The program also accepts cash or check donations to purchase items not donated and these may be sent to the program at WMCA, P.O. Box 200, East Wilton, ME 04234 or dropped off at their front desk.

Applications for gifts were started in August when area residents started signing up for fuel assistance.

The new location is limited in space but has the advantage of workers, phones and computers being within the building, she said.


“When working at a separate site like previous years, it’s more disconnected and this way we won’t have to move anything,” she said. “It’s truly the North Pole.”

Because of the space, Brophy is in the process of setting up a volunteer schedule where four volunteers can work for a few hours at a time.

Volunteers are needed to wrap and sort items and those interested in helping may contact her at 645-3764, ext. 5287.

The plan is to have the gifts out by Dec. 18, she said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.