RUMFORD — Employees at Dixfield Discount Fuel have started their annual Christmas toy drive and they’re hoping to expand the effort this year.

Office Manager Katie Houghton said, “We started small in 2009. Ever since then, we just kept growing and growing.”

She said a big boost last year was being involved in the Christmas in the Valley parade, when they got so many gifts for the children. Houghton said they also worked last year with Mountain Valley Variety, which donated four boxes of toys at the parade.

“There’s so many kids in need in every school around here. There’s quite a few kids who are desperate for help. Not just the kids, but the parents as well.”

DDF presented toys last year to students at Rumford Elementary School. Before that, it was Dirigo Elementary School.

Depending upon how much they have to give, they’d like to help elementary school youngsters of need up to age 12 in all the schools of the River Valley. Houghton said no matter what happens, Meroby Elementary in Mexico is definitely on their list for this year’s toy donation.

Houghton said their goal is to have more local drop-off places for toys. DDF has set up a spot in their gallery at their 1180 Rt. 2 business in Rumford where they can start displaying gifts, but some may not want to drive that far for a donation.

DDF also offers an incentive for donations of unwrapped gifts – people can get $10 off a delivery of 100 gallons or more of heating oil. She said perhaps other businesses might consider discounts for similar donations.

Houghton said DDF will have a table with giveaways and candy set up during the River Valley Pumpkin Fest in downtown Rumford on Saturday, Oct. 14, where people can donate gifts, which can be toys, or something handmade such as mittens and hats.

FMI: 207-357-4856, 207-562-0972.

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