AUBURN — In an effort to help children and families in need during Advent, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn and Catholic Charities Maine are working together to host “Jolly Gifts,” an initiative that aims to offer support to parish and community members as they prepare for Christmas.

All are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or gift to the “Jolly Gifts” display in the entrances of the parish churches (Sacred Heart Church on 8 Sacred Heart Place and St. Philip Church on 2365 Turner Road) through Saturday, Dec. 8.

“Gift suggestions would be simple board games, dolls, action figures, arts and crafts activities for older children, or sports items,” said Deacon Denis Mailhot, parish social ministry coordinator for Immaculate Heart of Mary.

All items donated will be given to Catholic Charities Maine, which will distribute them to families in need that have been referred to the organization by community partners.

“We see the power of giving every day at Catholic Charities Maine,” said Bill Wood of Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry. “To see these children and families smiling as they receive these gifts is so impactful. You realize that these are more than gifts, they are feeding the spirit as well.”

For more information about “Jolly Gifts” or to make a financial donation to the initiative, contact Deacon Denis at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish at 207-782-8096, ext. 1203, or Bill Wood of Catholic Charities Maine at [email protected]

A special Advent section has been created on the Diocese of Portland’s website that includes a variety of prayers, blessings and reflections; downloadable and interactive calendars; and event listings for the diocese. The section can be found at

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