December 15, 2010

Bruce Roberts Toy Fund: For some people with jobs, gifts out of reach

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - People have many reasons to turn to the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund for help making Christmas a little better for their children.


Here are the latest donations to the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund:

Previously acknowledged: $46,728.50

Edna and Richard Krull, M.D. $100

Joan Campbell $50

Terri Jones $10

Beth and Scott Benson $100

In memory of our parents, John and Kay Keefe, from the family $100

In memory of Rick $25

Janet H. Mordarski $25

Adah and Herb Ginn $200

Lia and Joshua $25

Jon Moulton $25

Kenneth and Jill Ryan $100

Susan Stiles $50

In memory of Jane R. Mulkern, from Bill, Barb, Madison and Milo $25

In loving memory of Grandpa Bull. Love, Eric, Bethany and Jamie $25

Bill and Valerie Sowles $250

In memory of Nan and Grampa Dunton, from Harrison and Drake $50

In memory of Eleanor Morris, from Charles $100

C. Holt $35

Judith and Walter Deskus Jr. $100

Janet and Jim Bither $100

Anonymous $50

Anonymous $100

Merry Christmas from John and Linda McCormick $100

Women's Federation, Immanuel Baptist Church $15

The Foss Co. $100

Merry Christmas from the Jamieson family $100

Love, Bob E. and Dozer $50

Betty, Barb and Anna $30

McCormick and Bouchard Eye Care LLC $150

In memory of Nancy "Mimi" McHugh $25

In loving memory of Jean L. Deshaies, from his grandchildren $50

Sylvia Kraemer $25

In loving memory of Mom and Dad $25

Robert and Carolyn Strachan $100

Anonymous $35

In loving memory of Reita Andren, who loved children, from Peg Emerson $100

Merry Christmas from Phil and Diane $100

Peter Rolfe and Caroline Denham $500

In memory of Estelle Hennessee $50

Anne Peterson and Calvin Kendall $25

Lowell and Patricia Pease $50

Mark "Tux" Turkel $50

Judy and Charlie Micoleau $100

In loving memory of Grandma and Jack Gilmartin $50

Lots of love from Ross, Sam and Cooper $71

The MacVicars $100

In memory of Ann and Joan Rocheleau $50

James Buck $10

A joyous Christmas to all, from Nicholas and Andrew Varipatis $25

In loving memory of Frannie, Alice, Packy and "Margie" $50

Merry Christmas to Mrs. Lewia, Mrs. Spang and Mrs. Case -- Rachel, Noelle and Julia $30

Today's total: $3,811

Total to date: $50,539.50

A parent may have lost a job, become ill or been hit with unexpected medical bills. The house may have needed an expensive repair, or a car may have had to be replaced, making a budget that was tight no longer realistic for holiday presents.

In these tough economic times, even people with jobs may find that the paycheck doesn't cover all of the monthly bills and the cost of presents under a tree.

One woman wrote to the fund to say that her husband lost his job when the company he worked for moved its production facilities overseas. He has since found a seasonal job, but "after getting behind on our bills in the last six months, we have little to no funds available to spend on toys."

"I hope that there is enough room for our family on your list," she wrote.

Another woman noted that she moved to Maine to be closer to her family while her husband's military unit was in Afghanistan for a year. Even though he was being paid by the military, a son's health problems and other costs associated with the move to Maine "have caused stress in our financial situation," she said.

And a woman whose past year included breast cancer and the need to change jobs noted that those circumstances made it hard to provide presents for her two daughters this year. "We are finally starting to get back on our feet, but could use just a little bit of help during the holiday season," she said.

At a time when nearly one person in 10 is without a job, people realize they are lucky to be employed, even if their pay has been cut.

But that sense of relative good fortune isn't something that children can grasp. All they know is that Santa brings toys and goodies at Christmas, and they don't want a somber economics lesson on Christmas morning.

To make sure that children in Cumberland, York, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Knox counties don't lose their belief in the possibilities of the season, the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund provides gift packs for children 18 and younger. Last year, the fund raised a record $260,000 to buy those presents, which are age- and gender-appropriate.

The woman who had breast cancer and made job changes provided the right perspective. Despite her health problems and the economy, she noted that she is the mother of two little girls, "which makes me one of the luckiest people on the planet."


Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:


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