"Let's All Have A Merrier Christmas" prepares for holiday season

JONESPORT, Maine (WABI) - Making Christmas merrier for thousands of children in downeast Maine -- that has been the goal of one organization for more than 30 years.

Alyssa Thurlow took a trip to Jonesport Thursday to see how the folks behind "Let's All Have a Merrier Christmas" are preparing for the holiday season.

"In today's world, it just kind of keeps giving us hope for all of the people who are willing to jump in and help out those in their community," said Co-Chair, Holly Swilo.

Since 1984, over 12,000 children have been able to have gifts under their trees thanks to a generous group in Downeast Maine.

"Let's All Have A Merrier Christmas" was started after a group of citizens were concerned about the amount of needy children in the area.

The program is designed to provide gifts for those who will receive little, or in some cases, nothing for Christmas.

"Every child on our list does get new clothing, whether it's boots, a winter coat, warm pajamas, and a new, at least one toy," explained Chairperson, Rhonda French.

Over the years, many different businesses and schools have joined the effort to help kids in the area, like a group of JMG students who attend Jonesport Beals High School.

Last year, they planned a polar dip for the project which raked in over $900. After learning of the need, students say they knew they had to chip in.

"As a community we are coming together and we are helping this organization and we are really getting the amount or kids who aren't getting gifts, it's coming down and I think we are all making a difference.," said junior, Kaiden Crowley.

New this year for the project is their Happy Feet New Winter Boot Drive.

"It's for two weeks, November 1st-15th, and the first day we had about 65 pairs of new boots donated," said French.

While they have always accepted winter boots and clothes, French says they're looking to collect even more to help children stay warm this winter.

"It's never too small, so if you can give a little bit of time, if you can give a small donation, it all adds up to help," said French.

Students say an exact date for this years polar dip will be announced soon, but you can expect it will be in early December.

To learn how you can get involved this holiday season visit: https://merrierchristmas.com/.