The Box of Joy program, facilitated by Skowhegan and Western Maine Lakes churches, helps children in need.

To participate, individuals and families fill a shoe box or boxes with gifts and mark the box for a boy or a girl and the approximate age.

In general, toys, hygiene items and school supplies are acceptable. Items should be new or like new, and should not include liquids, food, or anything related to violence.

People can drop boxes off at Notre Dame de Lourdes Church, 273 Water St., Skowhegan; St. Peter Church, 27 Owens St., Bingham; or St. Sebastian Church, 161 Main St., Madison; through Sunday, Nov. 13. Interested parties can also make an appointment to drop off boxes by contacting Wilson at 301-956-4086 or

For a list of recommended gifts as well as a list of what cannot be sent, visit

The same program also is being conducted at the Parishes of the Western Maine Lakes and Foothills. Boxes can be picked up and dropped off at St. Catherine of Sienna Church, 32 Parish St., Norway; Our Lady of Ransom Church, 117 Elm St., Mechanic Falls; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 857 Main St., Fryeburg; or St. Joseph Church, 225 South High St., Bridgton.


Six years ago, Elyse Wilson of Christ the King Parish in Skowhegan read about a program that helped provide shoe boxes full of gifts to mission children in South America who had never received Christmas presents before.

“I was very inspired by the stories, and I thought it would be a great way for kids in our area to get involved with missions,” she said, according to a news release from Dave Guthro of the Office of Communications with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. “Children are naturally generous, and they love to give gifts, especially at Christmas time.”

Weeks later, “Box of Joy” in Maine was born.

For more information, visit


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