On a recent Sunday morning, 6-year-old Carly Lemelin made a decision.

She went upstairs, got dressed, came down and gathered a plastic cup and an envelope. “She said, ‘I’m going to go out and raise money,’ ” said her mother, Eileen.

The two had recently talked about charity and needy children when they were at the mall and together donated to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. Carly apparently felt a need to do more, and this time she would donate to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund.

Carly walked to some neighbors’ homes in Scarborough as her mother watched from their house. “She was so cute. She ran back home and said, ‘I’m going to more houses. People are giving me money!’ ”

It was easy, said Carly, and took just “a couple minutes.”

“I went around my neighborhood and collected it,” Carly said. “I wanted to do it in memory of this guy named Bill.”


Bill was the husband of Carly’s baby sitter. And, according to Carly, he was a very nice man.

Carly took the money she collected – $49 – added $3 from her piggy bank and, with her parents’ help, sent a $52 donation to the toy fund, in memory of Bill.

The 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: $68,851.30.



The terrific crew at AAA Energy Service Co. $830

In loving memory of my husband, Leroy, Joan Rand $25

In loving memory of Babe and Podge $100

Merry Christmas! Savannah and Holly $50

Marjorie Twombley $1,000


In memory of Jason A Yates from the Wescott family $30

In memory of Bill and Max $100

In loving memory of my beloved mother and son – Della Fogg and Mitchell Kessler $100

Honoring Jack Deering, who loved children! $100

Merry Christmas! Elizabeth Shively $30

Al & Dottie Lappin $50


In memory of Grammy & Grampy Sandberg $50

Victoria Mansion fundraiser $1,221

Barron Center Employees $200

In memory of Gigi $50

One City Center Pot Luck $287.30

SoPo Pot Luck $244


Merry Christmas! From Eva $50

Arnie & Liza $1,000

Red Claws 50/50 $149

In loving memory of Aviana Petillo & Gavino Petillo $150

A Shirley Todd $25

In memory of my husband, Paul Sferes from Jeanette $500


McCormick & Bouchard Eyecare $100

Haley & Aldrich, Happy Holidays! $150

Michael A Frost, DMD $100

Anonymous $150

Kenneth Spirer $250

In loving memory of Linda Jellerson Mills $50


From Millie & Gillie $100

Just paying it forward, Carol Riley $25

Today’s total: $7,266

Year to date: $68,851.30