A mother in the midcoast is struggling to pay her bills and doesn’t want her two young children to feel forgotten at Christmas, so she asked the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund for help.

Unmarried and with no support from the children’s father, she relies solely on the income she makes as a housekeeper to cover her family’s expenses.

“For now, I don’t get paid that much. Every little bit helps for Christmas for the kids since I financially am having a hard time with things,” she wrote.

“I do the best that I can to be a good mother with what little income I have.”

Parents such as this woman can often qualify for public assistance to help put food on the table and provide medical care for their children, or to pay rent and fill the furnace with oil.

But public assistance programs cover basic needs. They don’t help put toys under the tree on Christmas morning, gifts that can bring joy to children even as their parents struggle.

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. Bruce Roberts was the original pen name of the newspaper columnist who co-founded the fund in 1949.

The fund – now in its 68th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties.

Applications can be downloaded at pressheraldtoyfund.org or picked up at the Press Herald’s Welcome Center at 295 Gannett Drive in South Portland. Call 791-6672 to have one mailed to you.

Donations to help buy the toys can be made at pressheraldtoyfund.org 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.

For more information, go to: pressheraldtoyfund.org.

See more stories about the fund at pressherald.com/press-herald-toy-fund/.

DONATIONS

From Pop $35

Anonymous $100

In memory of Elayne K. Page, Love, Bob $100

Carol Grundstrom $100

In memory of Bill Duball $50

County of Cumberland Employees $336

Merry Christmas from the 12 C’s $120

For all the children, from Jeffrey & Hope Creighton $100

In memory of Lydia Therrien $500

The Women of the Moose $75

In memory of Everett Gerrish $50

Beacon Chapter 202 Order Eastern Star, Damariscotta $50

In memory of Mary & Bill Lamont, who made Christmas special for so many $100

In memory of Constance H. “Connie” Tripp $80

In honor of the best grampie. We miss you! The Taylor family $200

In memory of Ken Cleaves and Lane Fraser, who both loved Christmas – Ethel & Ernie Carmoli $50

Sam & Liz Rudman $150

Mary Chris Semrow $100

Greg & Dorothy Radziszewski $100

Merry Christmas! $30

In memory of Mary & Margaret Shapazian and David Barter, from Patti $20

Anonymous $20

In memory of my mom, Dorothy – AJK $100

Anonymous $100

Ed & Claudia Campbell $50

In loving memory of Alice Davis from Debbie & Mick $50

In loving memory of Dr. Christopher Kaufman from Diane & Fred Kaufman $100

Red Claws 50/50 Raffle $358

Year-to-date total: $12,361