An envelope that arrived in the mail Monday for the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund contained a small donation for the charity, and a big reminder of what it’s all about.

It contained four $1 bills wrapped in a very brief note written in shaky, cursive letters: “From a long ago recipient.”

It’s not clear if the anonymous $4 donation came from a parent who turned to the fund when times were tough, or from someone who received gifts as a child and later learned that the toys that brightened a long ago Christmas came from the toy fund.

“It looked to be an elderly person who was a recipient,” said Kathleen Meade, the fund’s executive director. “It was just so sweet.”

Since it was founded in 1949, the fund has helped tens of thousands of families and children. This year, the fund is using donations from readers to provide toys to about 7,000 Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents.

The fund is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties. Applications can be downloaded at or picked up at the Welcome Center desk on the fifth floor of One City Center in Portland. Call 791-6672 to have one mailed to you.

Donations to help buy the toys can be made on the website or by writing checks to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund and mailing them to the fund at P.O. Box 7310, Portland, ME 04112.

The campaign’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000. The total raised so far is $6,934.


Long ago recipient $4

Lori Boyle $250

May this donation bring joy; Merry Christmas – Tina & John Aresta $15

In lieu of local X-Mas cards – George & Elizabeth Moberg $100

In memory of Red and Dot Swett $100

Marjorie Hodges $50

In memory of Granna Hilly and Woodie $100

Ada Duncan $50

In loving memory of Timothy M. Durant, from Jim and Jackie Durant $100

In loving memory of our parents, Stan and Ruth Blake, from Linda Cooper and Bonnie Kam $20

In loving memory of our sister, Janet Blake, from Linda Cooper and Bonnie Kam $20

John and Mary Langenbach $100

Happy Holidays! Donald Starr and Serena Wakelin-Starr $250

Merry Christmas! Frank and Nancy Fowles $50

In loving memory of Justin $50

To the children of Greater Portland, Clint Strout and Sandy Johnson $100

Today’s total: $1,359

Total year-to-date: $6,934

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