The Press Herald Toy Fund is largely the work of dozens of volunteers, and Margie Emmons of Yarmouth is among the most faithful. A former teacher, Emmons is in her 14th year as a helper and started soon after she moved from Baltimore and heard about the fund from family members.

“I knew that it was just a really special effort being made for kids who might otherwise not have much of a Christmas … and I jumped in with both feet,” she said. “I’ve always loved Christmas and, as a grandmother and a mother, I always want people around me to have a great Christmas.”

Emmons said it’s all rewarding work, from sorting the toys, to packing them to handing them out to parents who come to the toy fund warehouse in Freeport. Hearing and seeing the gratitude felt by parents is especially powerful.

“They’re in disbelief that someone is standing in front of them and handing them wonderful things for their children. It’s a bit overwhelming for many parents,” Emmons said.

The years of volunteering have made her feel very lucky that her children and grandchildren have always been provided for at Christmas.

“It is a remarkable effort,” she said of the program.

With the help of Emmons and about 100 other volunteers this year, 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 $10,159.

DONATIONS

To bring smiles this Christmas! Jeff & Hope Creighton … $100

Thomas & Mary Emerson … $25

In memory of James D Wallace, from Mark & Nancy Terison … $50

Richard & Nancy Lemieux … $200

Kenneth & Nancy Gordon … $100

In loving memory of Dick Halpin, Rosemary Halpin, and Evelyn O’Connor from Deb … $200

Lions Club, Cape Elizabeth … $250

Richard & Kimberly Brooks … $100

God bless you! Janet Page … $25

In memory of Kay … $100

In the name of Ann Lowry … $100

Janet Mordarski … $25

Anita Haskell … $25

Henry Salamone … $25

In memory of Elayne K Page …$100

From Tina & Les … $50

Carol Grundstrom … $100

In memory of George-Lucy-Arnie-Mary, from Sally … $25

In memory of Stanley & Violet Oliver; Merry Christmas! Brenda Kern … $50

I loved volunteering for Bruce Roberts from Doris Cook (Love you back!) … $100

In memory of Irvin Cyr, Love, Carmen & Meghan … $10

In memoriam – Grace Risbara … $100

Merry Christmas to kids of all ages! … $150

Christmas! Make it happen! John Fulton … $10

In memory of our fathers … $100

Today: $2,120

Year to date: $10,159

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