Readers of the Portland Press Herald have always found creative ways to donate to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund.

And in many cases they decide that making sure needy children have a happy Christmas is a better way to spread the holiday spirit than sending out holiday cards or exchanging gifts with co-workers or family members.

David Abbiati and Carl and Rachel Akin are some of the donors this year who followed the long tradition of making a donation “in lieu of holiday cards.”

And other donations have been streaming in from the employees of businesses and government agencies who have taken up collections, large and small.

The staff at Maine Nephrology Associates sent $150. The employees of Neer-Wyman Station gave $400. And the employees of Cumberland County gave $429.

All the creativity, and old-fashioned generosity, are adding up. The fund is now closing in on $80,000 raised this season.

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 $79,370.30.

DONATIONS

In memory of Mr. & Mrs. William B. Marshall $50

Peter Murray $100

Joyce and Bill Chayer $100

Patricia Noonan $100

Clarence Odbody $100

For our great-grandsons – Jackie and Ed Robinson $50

In honor of children everywhere – Dr. & Mrs. Peter Webber $100

Joan and Arthur Cope $25

Nicholas Fowler $250

Merry Christmas from Tom, Beth, Tyler and Bobby Pratt $25

In memory of our deceased parents, Anne Marie, Joseph and William $50

In memory of “Dod” from Val $100

In memory of James D. Wallace Jr. from Jim and Linda Daniels $25

Dan and Jeanne Sullivan $40

From Trudy $25

In memory of W. Earlie Eskilson $50

In memory of Sally Ann Eskilson $50

In memory of Frances T. Dooley, who was always so generous to her nephews – John Dooley $250

In loving memory of Ray Allen $40

Margaret Johnson $25

In loving memory of Mike and Teddy Dickey, who loved Christmas – the Ruels $100

Danuta Barnard $100

Mary Lobuglio $50

William Pond Sr. $150

In loving memory of my grandfather, George Grise, who loved little children $25

Maggie, Molly and the girls $35

Cynthia Hughes $25

In memory of Henry and Jeanette Gagnon and daughters Susan and Diane $100

In memory of Chad, who loved children $50

In lieu of local Christmas cards – Carl & Rachel Akin $30

In memory of L. Philip Bernier $100

M. Faith Rogers $50

In memory of Pat and John Scanlan $100

In loving memory of my parents, Phil & Henty LaRou, from Philip LaRou $500

For the children $100

In memory of Rebecca Fox and Howard Fox – Love, Bill Carr $50

In memory of Jim Wallace, Fairchild Semiconductor $194

In loving memory of Arlene and Ben Thompson, Martin Arnold and Debbie Gilmore, Suzanne Nelson $50

Alan and Barbara Saabye $250

Sirius Astrological Services $40

Holden agency $250

Today’s total: $3,904

Total, year to date: $79,370.30