A health problem or layoff can easily dampen the holiday spirit, and a combination of both can wipe out any hope of making a young child smile on Christmas morning.

That’s the situation described by a mother from the midcoast who applied for help from the Press Herald Toy Fund and wrote on the application that her family is now surviving on just $730 a month.

“I am in desperate need of help from the toy fund this year. My husband is disabled and cannot work. I was laid off from my job and have had no luck finding new employment. So the only income coming in is my husband’s disability,” she wrote. “We are having difficulty even buying food. Without the help of the toy fund, my daughter will not get a Christmas. Please help us so my daughter can enjoy herself and live in the Christmas spirit.”

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 $15,526.


Edward Peterson $100

Pamela Ferland $100

Clarence Hartford $25

In memory of Stanley F. Sampson Jr. $50


In memory of James and Lutie Barr $300

Diane Pike $40

William Pond Sr. $150

Andrea Blake $25

In memory of our son, Joshua Reynolds Hunt $25

Anonymous $100


The Fore Street Gallery $100.00

In memory of Bob Patten $30

In loving memory of my father, Raymond LaBerge Sr.,who loved Christmas $100

In memory of Bob Davis, who loved Christmas $25

From Celia, Owen and Finn $100

Thanks for all you do! Tiffany and Katherine $100


In lieu of presents for Alec Tippie’s 11th birthday $120

Anne and Bob Hall Jr. $50

Polly Carmichael $50

From Santa $200

In memory of Nick Mahoney $50

In memory of Grammie Irvine and Grammie Simone $100


Josephine Durant $50

In loving memory of my husband, Ron. Mary Brown $50

In memory of Joseph L. Bernatche III (Jo-Jo) from Dad $200

In loving memory of Dean from Donna, Pete and Mark $25

For needy children of veterans, from Arthur Dresser $100

For a brighter Christmas for a family $250


In memory of Kyle St. Clair from Fran Aceto $5

For my Father and my G’pa and G’Ma. May God bless one and all. Al Martini $10

In honor of John and Sally Quirk and Marie S. God Bless. Al Martini $10

In honor of my grandchildren: Max, Matilda, Isabel from Terri Messer $100

In memory of my cousin, James D. Wallace Jr., from Rosemary Brown $50

For the kids, Alice Kelley $100

Today: $2,890

Year to date: $15,526

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