Friday, December 11, 2009

The “Spirit of Giving” is once again alive and well in Ogunquit

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
Ogunquit Spirit of Giving is an annual local event to collect gifts for needy children who otherwise would have no presents at Christmas. Now in its 5th year, it was begun and is still largely run by local business owners.
“We either have our own businesses or we work in businesses,” explained OSG committee member Irene Crocker, who runs Watercress Cottages & Motel in Wells. “We adopted an agency, the Kinship Program.”
The Kinship Program matches up OSG donors with underprivileged kids who are being raised by their grandparents. “These grandparents are bringing up their grandchildren because the kids parents are either dead, drug addicts, or in prison,” explained Bette Hoxie, Director of Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine and the Kinship Program. “The grandparents don’t have a lot of money, and they can’t give (the kids) Christmas gifts.”
That’s where OSG comes in. People who want to help these kids sign up to buy $35-$50 worth of gifts for a specific child. “Most people spend more than that,” said Crocker. “I know I do. We get a list from the Kinship Program. It says ‘This is your child. This is what they would like.’ Some kids want a toothbrush, some want underwear, basic essentials. But we go above and beyond that.”
“When we started out we wanted to serve 50 kids. We did 89 in the first year,” Crocker reflected. “Every year since OSG has added more kids to its list. This year we’re up to 403 kids.”
On Dec. 6 at Mainestreet in Ogunquit, donors dropped off their gifts for the 403 kids. All the gifts were already wrapped and individually addressed. On Dec. 7, gifts were distributed to the homes of the kids free of charge thanks to Bow Street Distribution. Gifts were sent to children from Kittery all the way to Damariscotta, Maine.
“Most of these families are on low income or even no income,” said a grateful Hoxie. “Ogunquit Spirit of Giving means that these kids will have Christmas, that’s really what it means.”
Other OSG committee members include Jason Corbin, Jimmy Lucibello, Michael Maler, Jim Morgan, Normand Paquin, Jerry Peppe, Jeff Porter, Frances Reed, David Sullivan, Suzanne Thompson, and Mike Zamojski. For more information visit
Photo caption: Spirit of Giving committee member David Sullivan puts presents under the Christmas tree at Spirit of Giving at Mainestreet in Ogunquit on Dec. 6. (Devin Beliveau photo)