The mother of a 7-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl in southern Maine is recovering from surgery and unemployed, just in time for the holidays.

She didn’t want to ask for help, she says, but she also didn’t want her kids to go without gifts to unwrap. And she knew where to turn. It’s exactly why the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund has been raising money and buying gifts for 68 years. “I am a single mom to two kids. I hate to ask for any help but I am out of work currently due to shoulder surgery,” she wrote to the fund.

“I am going to be out of work until at least February 2018. If you could help us, that would be greatly appreciated.”

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 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.