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Santa visits young and young-at-heart in St. Francis

ST. FRANCIS, Maine — A visit from Santa Claus caused folks of all ages to feel merry at the Fifth Annual Friends of St. Francis Christmas Party at the St. Francis Community Center on Sunday, Dec. 16.

The Toys For Tots program provided gifts which Santa, aka Paul “Moses” Lessard, passed out to 44 children who attended the event.

One of those kids was Landyn Daigle of Fort Kent, who will turn 3 years old on New Years Eve.

“Landyn got a gift of different sized dinosaurs; he was ecstatic. He loves dinosaurs, so this was a perfect gift for him,” said his mother, Danielle Daigle.

Danielle Daigle is a former St. Francis resident who grew up in the town from the time she was a third grader until she was a junior in high school.

She attended the party with husband Keith and their children Landyn and baby daughter Haleigh, who is 8 months old.

“I’m proud to say most of my earlier years I spent growing up there, which is why I went up there to attend this event,” she said. “We’ve gone up for the past two years to the (Friends of St. Francis) Halloween parties, and we’ve always enjoyed them.”

Daigle said the party provided a “very welcoming environment for her young family.”

“It felt like I was with my own family,” she said. “I definitely appreciate all the people who put their time and effort into this Christmas party. The activities were wonderful, and each kid of all ages got their very own gift from Santa. It says a lot for that little town. They’re caring, loving, and giving people up there.”

Friends of St. Francis president Cindy Jandreau said it was not just the youngsters who received presents at the party.

“The oldest person Santa gave a gift to was 91,” she said.

Jandreau said she is thankful to the volunteers who helped to make the Christmas party a success. One volunteer drove up from Van Buren to help out at the party and another was from North Carolina but came to help while visiting family in Fort Kent.

“It is heartwarming to see the volunteers come donate their time to make sure kids have a great time,” Jandreau said.

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