PORTLAND — Portland police are investigating the theft of a jar that contained money to buy Christmas presents for needy children who live on Munjoy Hill.

The jar was stolen last month from a counter at the 7-Eleven convenience story on Washington Avenue. The suspect is a man wearing a Bonny Eagle High School sweatshirt – his image was captured on a store surveillance camera.

Police didn’t immediately return a phone message asking for the surveillance photo.

The collected money was to have been used to purchase gifts for needy children and to help pay for a Dec. 15 Christmas party at the Root Cellar on Washington Avenue.

“There wasn’t that much money in the jar, but this person took from a kid that now has to go without,” said Linda York, whose family is trying to carry on a tradition that was started more than 30 years ago by her mother, Marie Trott.

Trott, who died last year, created the Munjoy Hill Mother’s Club. York and her eight siblings promised to keep the club going. The club hopes to provide presents to more than 100 needy children, all of whom live on Munjoy Hill, this Christmas.

In addition to the 7-Eleven convenience store, another donation jar is located at Colucci’s Market on Munjoy Hill. York can be reached at 518-3169.