A young mother from Portland sent an appeal to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund, and it’s clear from her note that asking for help is not something she is used to doing.

She works as a home health care worker and then, at her own home, cares for her disabled mother, her disabled husband and her 5-year-old son. She turned to the toy fund to make sure that, with everything else going on, the little boy doesn’t miss out on a happy Christmas.

“My husband is on disability and I work in home health care. We do not receive any help with our bills or food and try to make ends meet every month,” she wrote.

“My husband has been fighting cancer for around four years now and we just want to be able to provide a good Christmas for our five-year-old son. At this age, he does not understand about mommy and daddy not being able to afford Christmas gifts. I really appreciate any help you can give to us.”

The Portland Press Herald Toy 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 – now in its 66th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties. Applications can be downloaded at pressheraldtoyfund.org 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 $8,039.

DONATIONS

In honor of Maura, Devan and Paddy by Louise Gorman… $275

Greg and Debbie Tait… $25

In lieu of local cards… $100

Grandma Peg from Lillian Harris… $50

Gift from Clover Padgett… $100

In memory of James Wallace Jr. from David Libby… $100

Happy Holidays! Steph, Lynn, Ethan and Noah Eckersley- Ray… $100

In memory of Frank O’Donnell… $50

For Arya and Emma, from Mary-Theresa Tringale… $25

A little to help, from William Davis… $10

For my mom… $20

Merry Christmas!… $50

In loving memory for M. Louise Peterson… $200

Today’s total: $1,105

Year to date: $8,039

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