The Grinch won’t find unhappy children in the Ticonderoga area this holiday season thanks to the Tiny Tim Christmas Wish Program.
The Tiny Tim Christmas Wish program enters a new decade with new leadership.
The program, in its 31st year, is now directed by Nancy Quesnel. Quesnel replaced Helen Gibbs, who stepped down after the 2010 holiday season following 20 years with the program.
“Helen was looking to pas the baton,” Quesnel said. “She put a lot of time and effort into the program; it was her baby. I’m honored she wanted me to take it over.
“I’m not looking to change the program at all,” she continued. “It’s been successful for a long time and all the kinks were worked out long ago. We have checks and balances in place. It’s a good program.”
Tiny Tim officials are already preparing for this Christmas. Tiny Tim Christmas Wish Program applications for needy children of the Ticonderoga Central School District, including Putnam and St. Mary’s schools, may be picked up at the Ticonderoga town offices in the Community Building on Montcalm Street. Completed forms should be mailed back to Quesnel, 151 Shore Airport Road, Ticonderoga 12883 by Saturday, Nov. 5.
Children ages 1 to 16 are eligible. Applicants must include a phone number to qualify. People who do not have a phone can list a relative, friend or neighbor. For further information call 585-7017.
Quesnel stressed the program is entirely confidential. After applications are verified, names are removed and families are assigned numbers, she said. People who purchase gifts buy for a specific number, not knowing who the child is.
The confidential program decides who gets holiday help using the school’s free and reduced lunch income guidelines. Parents must complete applications. That application includes questions about the children in the homes, such as clothing sizes and gender.
The Tiny Tim program started in 1980 when a group of Ticonderoga Central School teachers realized the need. The program grew to the point the teachers could no longer handle the demand.
There have been a lot of changes during the years.
Tiny Tim no longer accepts or distributes used items and gifts are no longer wrapped.
And, Tiny Tim has grown. It started out giving away winter coats. Now each child gets six pair of socks, six sets of underwear, a jacket, ski pants, boots, clothing and toys.
Tiny Tim will not purchase any electronics such as iPods, cell phones, computers or game systems.
Tiny Tim now serves about 75 families and nearly 200 children each holiday season.
It costs more than $6,000 a year to operate the Tiny Tim program.
While Gibbs has stepped down, Quesnel said the former director will remain involved.
“Helen’s not off the hook; she’d better keep her phone line open,” Quesnel said. “I just can’t let 20-some years of knowledge walk way. She knows all the little tricks, the ins and outs. Her heart is still in in and we want to involve Helen as much as we can.”