Winchendon Holiday Gift Giving

It is that time of year when we ask you to help us make the holiday season a little brighter for the most needy children in Winchendon, MA, an impoverished, rural town that has more foster children per capita then any other town in our state. This is our 15th year celebrating this tradition of kindness and generosity of spirit that we love sharing with all of you!

Michelle, the principal and Mona, the school nurse have shared with us some stories that we are passing along to you. This year, we are helping many families single parents or grandparents, usually only working part time or on disability, doing their best to raise their children.

Here are a few of their stories:

Our first family is a single mom who works part time and her special needs first grade son. She hesitated to ask for help because we had helped her last year and she said that she wanted to give other families a chance. However, we told you that we have enough to share so now her and her little boy can get what they need to have a warm and happy Christmas.

We are also serving a second grade boy who lives with his unemployed grandmother and often comes to school hungry and not bathed. He always takes extra snacks and is sent home with food in a backpack. Teachers describe him as a "Great Kid" who always comes to school ready to learn.

This next family for four children, ages 13, 9, 5, 4 are being raised by their grandparents who are on disability. Their mother is also disabled and lives with them. Two of the children have severe learning disabilities and one child has cerebral palsey. The oldest child would like his younger siblings to get toys this year and if there is money left over, he would like some warm men's boots size 9.

This familiy of 4 children- ages 15,12,7,3 - is described as "very low functioning and needy." One of the saddest descriptions is that the 7 year old girl never smiles and usually comes to school disheveled and unclean. However, one day a week, a therapy dog comes to school and that is the only time Michelle has seen this child smile. We are going to do what we can to put a smile on the faces of all these children.

We have been doing this for 15 years now and it is truly breathtaking to us that so many of you jump in and help these children year after year after year. Mona and Michelle tell us that it is such a pure gift of kindness to give these children a day to celebrate the magic of Christmas - a day off from the crushing poverty they experience all year. Your generosity provides a day of wonder and hope - such a mitzvah :)

And so we are reaching out to you, our wonderful, incredibly generous friends to jump in, once again, and help out.

There are several ways you can help:

1) New Outerwear item.

Please sign up through SIGNUPGENIUS to sign up to purchase a specific item for a child Click HERE

Drop donations by Sunday, Dec 17

2) FOOD! Any canned goods, Please drop off any food donations to our homes by December 17.

3) BASIC PERSONAL GOODS - toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo - when you are in the difficult position between having to choose between food and soap - soap doesn’t get bought.

4) New Clothes - boys or girls ages 3- 17 - all sizes -We have tags taped to our front door, and on the tag lists a child's age, gender, size, and NEW item needed. Please attach tags to the item and do not wrap!

5) Keep 'em Warm - new blankets, new pillows and new sleeping bags are truly fabulous gifts as many of these families rely solely on wood stoves to heat their homes.

6) Wrapping paper Christmas Candy - Wrapping paper, tape, and christmas candy for stockings are also great gifts

7) Goodie Bags for Moms and Dads - We would love to make up goodie bags for the moms and dads with stuff like :deodorant, hand cream, shampoo, nail polish, shaving cream etc -just a little gift from all of us to a mom who is struggling.

8) Gift Cards -CVS, Market Basket, Wal-Mart, Mobile Gas Cards. Sometimes filling a car with gas to get to work or to make an extra trip to pick up a sick child from school is unaffordable.

We will also shop for you if you would like to donate money. With any $ provided we would like to give each family a real christmas dinner: hams , potatoes ,chocolates.......


Please forward this email to any friends who might be interested in helping out.
Thank you and We love you all!


Sharon and Sue.
  • Pam Fisher 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
  • Soni Masur 
    • $500 
    • 44 mos
  • Amy Fradkin 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
  • Alix and John Turner-Bowman 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
See all


Sharon O'Connor 
Needham, MA
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