Christmas is over, but donations to the Portland Press Herald’s annual holiday gift program continue to roll in.
The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund, which was revamped this year with a new name and renewed excitement, gave toys to 4,200 children in five counties and raised more than last year.
As of Friday, the fund had collected $108,726.74. While that total is short of the goal of $300,000, it surpasses last year’s total by $4,000.
“Our fingers are crossed that money is still coming in,” said Kathleen Meade, executive director of the program.
The program this year changed its name to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund to raise its visibility and help with fundraising. It used to be known as the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund, a reference to the pen name of the Portland Evening Express editor who started the program in 1949.
“We used this year to reboot the initiative because it has been put to the side the last couple years,” said Stefanie Manning, vice president of marketing at the Press Herald and president of the toy fund. “We’re really pleased with the results.”
Manning said many people did not know the connection between the newspaper and toy fund, but the name change and partnerships with local businesses and events helped raise awareness about the program. Donations were collected during the annual tree-lighting in Monument Square, during the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s “Magic of Christmas” shows and as the beneficiary of a Portland Red Claws basketball game.
Meade said donors seem pleased that the toy fund has “been brought back into the fold at the Press Herald” and donor names were again published in the newspaper each day.
“People are happy we’re back in the public eye,” she said.
Meade said the toy fund benefited this year from the dedication of 140 volunteers, as well as the renewed enthusiasm of Press Herald employees who raised money for the fund by hosting a cookie-baking contest and raffles.
“Volunteers are amazing because it really couldn’t happen without them,” Meade said.
Both donations and applications for toys may have been down this year because of the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Meade said it is not too late to help raise money for next year’s toys. Donations are accepted year-round at pressheraldtoyfund.org or by mailing checks to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund, P.O. Box 7310, Portland, ME 04112.
Karan Miller’s Aerobic Exercise Classes $283
In memory of Mr. & Mrs. J.H.C. and Mr. & Mrs. J.H.C. Jr. $50
Benjamin Soule $50
In memory of our mothers – From SHS class of 1973 $100
Debra & Gregory Tait $25
Rusty & Sally Bennett $100
In memory of Don & Margaret – Marion McDonald $25
From our dog Rosie, who loves kids $50
For Carl, Jean and David Swanson from Gene and Jean $50
In memory of Douglas Hitchcox – Paul Hitchcox $250
To a family in need $50
Bottle donations from Shaw’s Supermarket $164.75
In loving memory of grandparents Martin & Margaret (Majors) Feeney and George & Mary (Cressey) Bertalan $100
Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: