DDF Toy Drive delivery to Mountain Valley High School.

DDF Toy Drive delivery to the Mountain Valley Middle School.

DDF Toy Drive delivery to Dirigo High School.

DDF Toy Drive delivery to the Meroby Elementary School.

RUMFORD — Last month’s Toy Drive through Dixfield Discount Fuel helped provide Christmas for all nine of the River Valley local schools, reaching over 1,800 kids, according to DDF Office Manager Katie Houghton.

The 13th annual toy drive also marked their first year as a 501c3 non-profit.
Houghton noted, “This one topped off as the biggest year ever and our hearts are full. We raised $9,848 and 283 children were sponsored by our Facebook River Valley community. These children got new coats, snowpants and boots and lots of wonderful toys. Our community stepped up in a way that we needed. Children in our area need help and we did it!”

Dirigo, Rumford and Meroby elementary schools got three truckloads each. Dirigo and Mountain Valley middle schools each got $950 in gift cards, 40 toiletry bags full of goodies, and both received a few bags/boxes of extra gifts and snacks.

Chisholm Head Start received four loads. Western Foothills was helped as well with toys, sponsored kids, and a pile of gift cards.

Houghton said they were also able to deliver $800 in gift cards to both Dirigo and Mountain Valley high schools. “This has been a personal goal for me to make happen – the high schoolers are also in need, so to be able to bring it to this level is just inspiring!”

New, this year, they had many classrooms of children come up with their teachers and volunteer shopping. “Teaching a child to give is so important, and to see this in our schools has made my year and all my toy drive goals come true,” she said.


Houghton gave thanks to all the helpers — delivery helpers, preppers, shoppers, and organizers, and particularly to Cary Bradbury, her co-organizer. “So many people had a part in our program this year!”

Helpers also included Audrea Pingree, Rose Marie Richard, Kendall Petrie, Deb Gurney, Liz Tidswell and Judy Houghton, who shopped for the toy drive. Kendall also assembled all the middle school toiletry bags. Then they all came together with DDF to load it all up and deliver.

“We had out DDF team here for delivery day and as well and Gary Dolloff and Dawson Walton,” said Houghton.

She said she enjoyed having WOXO at the DDF office and seeing the Dirigo and Mtn. Valley alumni step up and take care of their hometown schools.
“Families that are no longer here in the River Valley messaged me and wanted to help. We had friends shipping items here to the office. Some Venmoed/paypaled $200 to have us shop. Some shopped and made the trip to the office. It’s incredible to see our old friends still wanting to be a part of our community. How awesome is that!” said Houghton.

She said they always want to thank the DDF business owner, Clinton Bradbury, for the space, “we lovingly call ‘Santa’s Workshop’ and also for supporting this incredible project!”

Houghton said her favorite part this year has been the community involvement. “We did it together. Merry Christmas River Valley. This is Christmas Magic. I am so proud of this team.”

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