Get into the spirit … of giving

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HELPING OTHERS — Connie Allen, left, and Jean Delamater run the Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Teens programs to help area youth during the holiday season. The annual holiday concert is the major fundraiser and will be held on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s Mark Eastman Auditorium.

PARIS — Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Teens are once again working with area individuals, churches and civic organizations to provide Christmas for children and teenagers in the Oxford Hills area.

They are asking for help from the community to provide needy youngsters with toys, hats, mittens and a new book.

The major Christmas for Teens fundraising event – a Christmas concert – will be held next week. Now in its 18th year, the musical event usually plays to a sold-out crowd.

The concert will be held on Friday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s Mark Eastman Auditorium, under the direction of Dennis Boyd and Dan Allen.

“We are very excited to put this benefit concert together,” said Boyd. “The Oxford Hills Music Department is bringing many ensembles, as well as two fantastic dance studios and a folk band.  The anchor choir is very excited to perform for the community.”

Last year, the group raised enough money to provide Christmas to 554 children and teens. The annual concert raised $2,100 and organizers hope this year will bring in even more assistance.

“The concert is our largest fundraiser,” said Jean Delamater, chairperson of Christmas for Teens. “We are grateful for all the volunteer community involvement, including the many talented individuals and groups of performers that spend countless hours preparing for this event.”

Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Teens are programs of Rightstart Inc.,  a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving the children of the Oxford Hills area by providing programs and services.

For those families in the Oxford Hills area who need help this year, applications to Christmas for Teens and Christmas for Kids provides Christmas for teenagers and youngsters who meet economic guidelines and are full-time students at the Oxford Hills School District’s eight member towns. Homeless teens, meeting the same requirements, are also assisted under the program, according to information from Rightstart Inc.

For those families in the Oxford Hills area who need help this year, applications to Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Teens can be picked up at Community Concepts Inc. in Market Square, Paris, and local town offices. The deadline for applications is Thursday, Dec. 8.

Donations should be sent to: Christmas for Kids, P.O. Box 726, Norway, ME 04268. Gifts can be dropped off for Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Teens at the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce office at 4 Western Ave. in Paris.

According to the Rightstart Inc. website, the organization is all volunteer and provides programs and services to children and teens throughout Oxford Hills. Its mission began in 1979 during the International Year of the Child through efforts of the Norway-Paris Kiwanis Club. Since then, Rightstart has been providing assistance and programs, becoming a separate organization in 1980.

Concert tickets are $10 general admission and will be available at Books-n-Things on Main Street in Norway after Friday, Dec. 1.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net