November 30, 2013

Letters to the editor: More coverage would build Press Herald Toy Fund

Readers also share views on the Affordable Care Act, marijuana use and leashing dogs in Scarborough.

Please bring back the toy fund updates of list of donors and personal-interest stories!

click image to enlarge

Volunteers Walter and Nina Braley of Standish prepare a Bruce Roberts Toy Fund gift bag in 2010. A reader calls for more stories about the 2013 effort, which is now called the Press Herald Toy Fund.

2010 File Photo/John Ewing

Your readers used to be reminded of the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund by a series of articles during the weeks leading up to Christmas. I was dismayed when the paper decided to discontinue this practice. “Out of sight, out of mind,” I thought.

And now the article “Press Herald Toy Fund changes but goal is the same” (Nov. 25) reveals that last year, “the fund raised only slightly more than $100,000, less than half the typical amount” but goes on to say the drop in funding was due to confusion about where to send contributions.

Really, more than $100,000 worth of donations was lost due to “postal snafus”? Perhaps, instead, we miss the lists of contributors, the heartfelt stories from recipients and volunteers, and the ever-rising total.

$300,000 is a lofty goal for a fund that took in just over a third of that last year. But give us back the names of generous neighbors, the tales of joy and relief from local families and the climbing total in bold, and I bet together we will raise the money again.

Also, please pause a moment to think about how in this article you offer parents access to the application: the website. Not everyone has a computer, access to one or even the ability to read your paper or the application form.

It would be good to know other ways the toy fund staff is ensuring that potential recipients are being informed of the program so they may receive gifts for their children.

In years past, opening the paper and seeing the Portland Press Herald dedicate space to acknowledge, in print, someone’s gift of $10 and how that modest donation made a difference was a gift in and of itself.

Katie Clark


Collins should gain clarity on the need for health care

Sen. Susan Collins stated last month in a floor speech that she is “crystal clear” in her stance against the Affordable Care Act. It is important to remember that this politician is also against the disclosure of the way our government’s contractors contribute to campaigns.

Our current health care system is driven by profits and firmly tied to our jobs. It is a system based on threatened and limited choices, not a system of health and wellness.

I have met countless individuals who admit that their jobs are physically destroying them, but cannot quit because they are the sole provider of health care for their families. I have met a couple who divorced so that their children could be eligible for insurance.

I knew a man with terminal cancer who worked to the end of his life to cover treatments, rather than be with his family. I have met a girl whose neglected toothache led to an infection in her brain. All of us know someone whose life has been adversely affected by lack of health care. More than half of personal bankruptcies are medically based.

To question, to delay and to forbid health care to our citizens is immoral, dishonest and serves an industry that has spent more than $100 million fighting it.

Forty million of us have no health care without the Affordable Care Act. If Sen. Collins’ personal health care were that of a real citizen, if she believed that everyone deserves health care – not just the wealthy – I think her clarity would change.

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