Struggling parents from around southern and coastal Maine find their way to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in different ways. They read about the charity in the newspaper, or are referred by a friend or relative, or a concerned teacher. Others are told about the fund by social workers who are helping them fill their oil tank or keep the roof over their heads.

“Me and my family of five are living in a two-bedroom trailer in Westbrook,” writes a mother who was one of the thousands to turn to the fund for help this year. “We truly are living paycheck to paycheck. Our family has not always been in this situation financially.”

She has two daughters and a son, ranging in age from 2 to 6.

“I was introduced to the toy fund by my child’s case manager after giving her a list of urgent needs such as winter clothing and boots.” The social worker recommended applying to the toy fund for a different kind of emergency help, and she did.

“I do not want my kids to think that they are different from other kids, and I try to keep our financial situation between my husband and I. My children do not want fancy and expensive gifts for Christmas. They have learned to be happy with what we have. I really would appreciate any help that we can get to make sure my kids have as regular a Christmas as possible.”

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts is using donations from readers to provide toys to thousands of Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents.

The fund – now in its 67th year – serves needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties.

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.

THURSDAY’S DONATIONS

Thank you for making my husband’s Christmas happier for him as a child  $100

In memory of Anthony Maier  $100

In loving memory of Arlene & Ben Thompson, Martin Arnold, and Debbie Gilmore  $50

Patricia Frederick  $100

Robert Slaktowicz  $20

Brayden, Ava, Will & Harper  $30

In memory of Mom, Dad and Randy Mooers  $30

In memory of Judy A Curran who loved Christmas and always made it special!  $40

In memory of Buckwheat, Cheetah-Bop, Zeus, Murph-the-surf, Sammy & Pugsley  $30

Anonymous  $20

Jeff Michaud  $30

A gift from Corey & Rachel, Gretchen, Sarah & Jesse  $500

Barbie and Scott  $30

In honor of our grandchildren, Tyler and Andrew Grover, for all children  $30

In memory of Mom – Elena Schmidt  $100

Merry Christmas from Dr. Steinmetz, Michele and Carley  $100

Employees of Paul G. White, Allen Ave, Portland  $500

Anonymous  $150

Barry & Diane Atwood  $50

Have fun on Christmas!  $30

In memory of RJF from the Fissmer Family  $100

Joy to the world – Richard and Nancy Long  $30

Anonymous  $30

Anonymous  $30

In memory of my father, Milton Van Vlack  $100

Saco & Biddeford Savings Employees, Westbrook branch  $95

In memory of Peter  $500

In memory of Richard T. Sterling from the family  $100

To bring joy to a child, with love  $50

In loving memory of Don Clark from all his family. Merry Christmas!!  $50

In loving memory of my mother, Della Fogg and our beloved son, Mitchell Kessler  $100

Skyrocket  $50

In memory of David “Binky” Davis who loved Christmas -Anna,Dianne & Family  $20

Hester Stuhlman  $25

Merry Xmas from Jim & Kathy Ryan  $100

Anonymous  $100

Gift from 3 handsome boys, Duncan, Graham & Sam of Saco  $30

From Santa  $20

Anonymous  $40

Happy all the days – Liz and Robert Wagner  $80

Anonymous  $50

Merry Christmas from Brian Dobson  $30

William and Barbara Merten  $50

Merry Christmas! Laurie Swanson and Bill Piombino  $50

Total to date:  $120,397.60