The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund is using donations from readers to provide toys to about 7,000 Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents.

The fund – now in its 65th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties. Applications can be downloaded at pressheraldtoyfund.org or picked up at the Welcome Center desk on the fifth floor of One City Center in Portland. Call 791-6672 to have one mailed to you.

Donations to help buy the toys can be made on the website or by writing checks to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund and mailing them to the fund at P.O. Box 7310, Portland, ME 04112. The campaign’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000. The total raised so far is $48,990.10.

Here is a letter from one such applicant:

Dear Press Herald Toy Fund,

I and my family are in need of help for Christmas. I am looking for work. The only income my family has coming in is my husband’s income and my son’s disability checks, which don’t even cover our bills each month. I have to choose one bill not to pay and play catch-up the following month. There is just no money to be able to provide gifts for my children.

It’s been a long, rough year. My middle son has a lot of health problems. My daughter has been real ill with Lyme disease. So, please, I ask for your help to be able to give my kids something to try to put some smiles on their faces instead of sadness and constant worrying.

Mom in need of help

DONATIONS:

William D. Scott, in memory of my sisters, Carolyn Thibodeau and Virginia Scott $100

Gary and Jane Farmer $50

Jayne and Bill…$50

In memory of Elston and Larry…$125

On behalf of our parents, Arthur and Pauline Gilpatrick, and Leo and Eleanor Joy $50

In loving memory of Althea and Philip Moore, and Laurel and Ken Marston $100

Merry Christmas from Gavin, Tom Cat, and Jerry $100

Marion Hanscom, in memory of all loved ones $200

In memory of Marilyn Kaserman and Mary Grant $50

In honor of my 10 grandkids: Cameron, Bayleigh, MacKinleigh, Corinne, Mitchel, Brian, Kelsey, Kyria, Breeanna and Colan $100

In honor of Molly, Maggie and the Girls $45

David R. Laliberte $100

In memory of Yolanda Costello, who kept Christmas in her heart all year long $50

Merry Christmas $50

In loving memory of Mac and children, Kristie and Macky from Jean White $25

Frank and Eileen Frye $40

For toys $25

In loving memory of Tom, Elaine and Tim Flaherty, XO $50

In loving memory of Rose, Red, John and David Smith, XO $50

In memory of Red and Dot Swett $100

From our grandchildren Jen, Kiely, Chris, Tyler, Ma $50

Ann Tracy – paying it forward…$100

Kathleen Walsh, in memory of my sister Mary Lally 30

In memory of James and Katherine Nappi $25

Louise Peterson $200

In memory of Nana Marilyn Kuhn. The Slaney Family $20

Stephen Harris, in memory of Linda Robinson Harris $100

From my kids and grandkids $25

William & Barbara Merten, in honor of our late parents $100

Merry Christmas $50

In loving memory of Virginia Dorr $100

From the Patashnik family $100

Carol Poirier, in memory of deceased family members $25

Happy Holidays $100

In memory of our parrot “BABY” $20

Conroy family $50

In memory of Bruce Roberts…$100

Happy Holidays to All! Daisy P. $100

Karen Lane, in memory of Jodie…$50

Louise Gorman, in honor of Maura, Devan and Paddy $250

Merry Christmas $25

Merry Christmas to Maine’s children…$100

Merry Christmas, Peter & Sarah, the Carpenters $100

Year to date: $48,990.10