Ellsworth business owner collects donations for Bangor family in need of Christmas spirit

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 5:58 PM EST
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - Ellsworth business owner Gary Runnells wanted to help teach his two young boys about giving back for the holidays.

He posted last week in an Ellsworth Community Facebook group seeking donations for a family in Bangor in need of some Christmas spirit.

The speed of the response was amazing.

”I couldn’t imagine having my kids wake up and not have a tree,” said Gary, High Tide Holistics co-owner.

Five days ago, Gary, a Blue Hill resident and Ellsworth business owner, had no plans to be delivering Christmas necessities to a family in Bangor he didn’t know.

“It started off as an idea for a lesson for my children,” said Gary.

A friend of Runnells told him about a single mother of five in Bangor who didn’t even have a tree for Christmas, let alone presents to put under one.

So Runnels took to Facebook to ask for help.

The response was swift.

“I was sitting on the couch going, why is your phone blowing up?” said Holly Runnells, High Tide Holistics co-owner.

“I posted it in the evening, and in two hours, I had all the money. And in less than 48 hours, we had everything. So at this point they have a tree, they have all the gifts that they need. They have food. And they have money to go shopping for whatever else they might need during the holidays,” said Gary.

The Runnells are fairly new to the Downeast area, having moved here from central Maine in 2019. They say they are completely overwhelmed by the response to a Facebook post by this community.

“This is all coming from people we’ve never met before. The Ellsworth community was… this was awesome. I never expected it. And I know there are more people coming to do more. Thank you, everybody,” said Gary.

And with regard to the Runnells children, lesson learned. Maybe, more than one.

“My 8-year-old was super excited. He started going through his own things like, ‘oh, well I don’t think I need this anymore.’ It’s really nice to see,” said Holly.

“Now I’m like, ‘I must give to those which are in need.’ Because they need a chance to… it’s just the Christmas spirit!” said Micah Runnells, Gary and Holly’s son.

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