Dorothy Kelleher inherited her devotion to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund from her parents.

Kelleher’s donation to the fund is among the first to arrive each year. It was again this year, although this time her $100 check was donated in memory of her parents, Norma and Robert Foster. Her father died eight years ago and her mother passed away in May.

“The toy fund was so important to my mom and dad,” said Kelleher, a longtime math teacher who lives in Westbrook.

Her mother was one of 11 children in a poor family in central Maine and was placed in the custody of the state when she was 3 years old and raised by a foster family that had more compassion than financial resources.

“The family that took her in, they were really, really good-hearted people, but when you take kids in, there is only so much to go around,” Kelleher said.

Her mother’s childhood was a big reason for the entire family’s support of the toy fund and other charities that try to lift up needy children.


“It was always very important for Mom and Dad to make sure kids had things,” Kelleher said. “I have such sympathy for people who are workers and really trying and things happen. One little setback and where do you go? … Christmas is coming and what do you do?”

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 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 $42,326.



In loving memory of Dick, Mary and Doris – Ed and Inge $50

Hadley Swears and Grampa $50

In memory of Carolyn Thibedeau and Virginia Scott.. $100

In memory of Mark and Faye Ware $50

Ray Kelso $100

In memory of Andrew E. Campbell $100


Elizabeth Weir $50

Jacob Gerritsen $200

In loving memory of “T” $25

Kenneth Ryan $50

A grateful Grammy of 10 $500

In memory of Herbert and Ethel Roma $30


Michael Booth $100

In memory of James D. Wallace Jr $50

Phyllis Benson $25

In loving memory of my sister and brother-in-law Peggy and Bob Jewett, from Fanny $200

Anonymous $200

Consolidated Home Improvements – Gene Hurteau $50


From Flossie the Cat $75

Merry Christmas – Lorraine Sarno $10

Merrry Christmas from Joan Cirbus and Thomas Wescott


In memory of Peewee Gonzalez



In memory of James “Jim” Wallace Jr. from Sean Conroy…$100

From Santa Jerry $100

Leona Merrow $300

In memory of our mother, Wilhelmina McKinnon, who loved Christmas $50

Merry Christmas!…$25

In honor of my grandsons Brandon and Connor .$50


In memory of our nephew Ryan, Love Uncle Gary and Aunt Sue $100

To honor our grandsons Sam, Kevin and Jake $150

In loving memory of Grandma Dot $75

Daniel Richards $100

In loving memory of Auntie June



In lieu of Xmas cards – Janice Rogers $30

Mary Currie $25

John Bennett $100

In loving memory of Jack Hines and Eddie and Bessie Harrigan


In memory of my mom, Ruth Hamm, who donated every year. Miss her so much $100


Merry Christmas from Helen Petersen $20

In memory of Wm. C. Mitton


In memory of Christopher J. Heavey $250

In memory of Bill Murphy $25

In memory of Alice Ladyszewski



In memory of Flora and Walter Perkins $100

Today’s donations: $4,375

Year-to-date: $42,326