December 26, 2011

Bruce Roberts Toy Fund brightens Christmas for 7,500 kids

The fund's director praises readers for their donations and generosity this year.

By Melanie Creamer
Staff Writer

Three young children in Bath woke up on Christmas morning to find presents under the tree that would not have gotten there without help.

So did six kids from a family in Brunswick, and a teenager and his 11-year-old twin sisters in Sanford.

About 2,500 families across Maine had a better Christmas this year, thanks to the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund. For the past 62 years, the fund has been giving toys to parents so they can put something under the tree for their kids at Christmas.

"If I didn't get this help, I probably wouldn't have hardly anything under the tree for them," said a single mother of four children from Sanford.

She lost her job a year ago and enrolled in an adult education program to be trained for a new job. She has been struggling to find work, so she turned to the toy fund for help. Her kids received an NFL football, electronic games, jewelry-making kits and art supplies. She said Friday that her kids weren't expecting much for Christmas.

"Now it's going to look like Christmas," she said two days before the holiday. "They will wake up Christmas morning and be blown away."

Another woman from Bath said Friday that she felt relieved and grateful, just knowing that her three young children would have presents under the tree.

Her husband applied to the toy fund after his hours were cut at the business he works for.

She stays home to care for their daughter and two sons. She said his salary barely pays the bills.

"We have a lot on our plate," she said. "We do our best to keep a roof over our head. They are good kids. I can't wait to see the their eyes and to see the smiles on their faces. It's the best part."

This year, the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund provided toys and gifts to 7,500 children of all ages in Cumberland, York, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and Knox counties.

Readers of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and MaineToday Media websites donate to the fund, which uses the money to buy gifts.

The fund is still accepting donations, which can be viewed on their Facebook page and the newspaper's websites.

Kathleen Meade, the fund's director, credited the donors for helping to make the holidays brighter for the families they serve.

"It's kind of cool that these parents had the option of seeing all those happy faces on Christmas morning," Meade said. "Year after year, we're able to put a bright spot on Christmas morning. As far the kids are concerned, Santa brought them a lot of the same things he brought to other kids, which is kind of neat."

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:


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