PAL Center staff and volunteers in Auburn test a television set that was donated to the center. From left are Shawn Boyd, Nick Post, 14, Kaylee Bragdon, 15, and Kayla Gastonguay. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Danny Austin, 14, Taylor Grizzard, 10, and Nick Post play a game of foosball at the PAL Center in Auburn. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Now that Christmas is over, do the words “need to purge” apply to your household?

If your home is cluttered with stuff, you might want to gather up gently used items and donate them to worthy organizations where people work hard to help others.

Some suggestions:

The PAL Center in Auburn, a youth drop-in center sponsored by the Auburn Police Department, needs games, balls and sports equipment, snow gear, and toys.


“There really isn’t much of anything we don’t need,” officer Tom Poulin said. “We could always use stuff. We have a zero budget.”

Toys would become prizes for the Friday bingo games. The youth drop-in center serves neighborhood kids who “are not affluent,” Poulin said. Often kids show up without boots, hats, gloves or winter gear. “We could always use boots, sneakers, jackets.”

Food is welcome, too. School vacation hours at the PAL Center are noon to 4 p.m.; during school, 3 to 6 p.m. To donate or for more information, call Poulin at 576-0718. The Chestnut Street PAL Center is off Webster Street, parallel to Union Street.

Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston, a food pantry and resource center, could use “winter stuff, coats, hats, blankets, boots,” Executive Director Erin Reed said. The need for winter wear is as great as ever, she said. “We never have enough. If it’s used or out of style, we don’t care,” she said. The center could also use toiletries. Donations can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The address is 247 Bates St.

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Lewiston needs men’s clothing and children’s clothing, store volunteer Debbie Billings said. Also needed are blankets, sheets, jackets, “just about anything.”

Men’s clothing is more in need this year than others, Billings said, probably because it’s been so cold, and donations have been slow.


“Men don’t like to get rid of their clothes,” she said.

To donate at St. Vincent’s, drop by Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The address is 276 Main St.

Advocates for Children in Lewiston could use anything that goes into a diaper bag: diapers, wipes, baby blankets, and clothing for children under 5 years old, Office Manager Lisa Marston said . The agency does not need toys. Donors are asked to call 783-3990 before dropping in at the 124 Canal St. office.

Tree Street Youth in Lewiston: needs basketballs, soccer balls and footballs. The youth drop-in center also needs shovels, art supplies (paper, paint, crayons, construction paper), and cleaning and personal care supplies, including paper towels, toilet paper, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and Band-Aids.

“We burn through this stuff!” Executive Director Julia Sleeper said. The center does not need books or toys. The address is 144 Howe St.; phone number, 577-6386.

Safe Voices, an agency that helps domestic violence victims in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties, needs household goods including sheets and linens, towels, pots and pans, “the types of things that people need moving into a new, safe place to live,” Executive Director Elise Johansen said. “We usually help them stock that up. Also, we always need diapers.” Johansen asked donors to call 795-6744 and leave a message and the call would be returned.


Catholic Charities senior program in Auburn needs yarn and needles, said Sue Poulin. Not just any yarn. Their volunteer knitters like four-ply yarn, in good condition in all colors. Also, gas cards for volunteers, grocery cards for seniors in need. The SEARCH (Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage and Hope) program’s mission is to help vulnerable seniors remain independent. To donate, contact the office at 784-0157, or email:

The Center for Wisdom’s Women in Lewiston this time of year accepts women’s clothing in season, Executive Director Klara Tammany said. Larger sizes are needed, the clothing should be in good shape and casual, no formal or business wear. The center could always use coats, boots and hats. The address is 97 Blake St.; phone number, 513-3922.

Court Street Baptist Church in Auburn has a clothes closet for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, church Secretary Pam Cooper said. “We’re always taking more.” The clothes closet could also use blankets and small appliances. The goods are given to people in need. “There’s no charge for anything.” The address is 129 Court St., near the library.

The Hope House Family Support Center in Lewiston needs outerwear, jackets and gloves, said Bruce Wilson of the center. “We need kids’ clothes all the time. We’re always in need of diapers, plus canned and dry goods, cereal.” Anyone donating is asked to call 577-1165 before dropping by. The address is 91 College St.

Other places to donate include Hope Haven Gospel Mission in Lewiston, The Salvation Army and Goodwill.

Many churches and schools have clothes closets and food pantries to help students from needy families. They also could use toiletries including toothbrushes, hair brushes, paper products and warm clothes, especially socks and gloves.

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