Bruce Roberts Toy Fund
The Bruce Roberts Toy Fund, a non-profit corporation, was established 61 years ago - in 1949 - as a newspaper-run charity to assure that needy Maine children received toys during the holiday season. Six decades later, it has grown into a powerful community asset with a strong reputation for helping those in need.
From Thanksgiving to Christmas, the fund solicits money from the newspaper’s readership primarily though daily stories about recipients, donors and volunteers. These public donations are used to purchase new, safe, age appropriate toys for needy children in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties. Although originally conceived as a Christmas toy fund, the mission of the fund was broadened several years ago to include all faiths. The spirit of giving and sharing remains intact. During the 2009 holiday season, 3,450 applications were received from Maine families in need. This led to 7,940 children receiving gifts.
Each year, at least 100 volunteers work to ensure that children are served. Each volunteer has a story to tell of why they are committed to the endeavor. The fund does accept donations all year long with recognition in the paper reserved for November to early January. The donors also have stories to tell – many speak of receiving toys from the fund when they were young, others let us know that they have requested assistance in the past.
The Toy Fund continues the original mission as conceived in 1949.
Read the stories
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund Donors
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund brightens Christmas for 7,500 kids
The fund's director praised readers for their donations and generosity this year.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Then and now, donors buoy children's belief
A volunteer wants today's kids in need to get the same help she once got.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Giving 'from the heart' a tradition for donors
Helping needy children to receive holiday gifts is a longtime practice for many fund contributors.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Volunteers rekindle magic of holidays
Some 200 holiday helpers are hard at work preparing gifts.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Economy increases need for help during the holidays
Meanwhile, donations have stayed around $200,000.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund update
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Now 81, she 'never forgot' the help
Recent letters from single mothers serve to remind a great-grandmother of her hard times 50 years ago.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: The essence of charity? 'Anonymous'
They receive no recognition or public thanks – but their gifts are very much appreciated.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Recipients promise to give back to fund someday
Grateful mothers share a deep appreciation for the kindness of fund donors.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Donations lagging for next year's gift recipients
It costs about $200,000 to buy toys, and so far only $86,267 has been collected.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Spare change buys a tree but won't cover gifts
A Gorham mother who gave to the toy fund as a child now needs a bit of generosity herself.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Parents put future ahead of presents
Some spend their spare money on education or job training, leaving nothing for kids' gifts.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Struggling to pay for a better life, parents turn to the Toy Fund for help
Paying for housing and college courses leaves little money for new toys.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: For some people with jobs, gifts out of reach
Mainers facing financial stress from medical bills, military deployments and other factors ask for help.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Struggling parents try to brighten holiday for supportive kids
- Pro sports teams add muscle to Bruce Roberts Toy Fund effort
The Red Claws and Pirates organizations have a roster of events to bolster donations.
- Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: Prospect of foreclosure makes gifts a tough choice this year
- Toy Fund still in business of making kids smile
For 61 straight years, generous readers have helped bring the joy of Christmas to the needy.