Thousands of children in southern and coastal Maine are experiencing the full magic of Christmas morning thanks to the readers of the Portland Press Herald.

Reader donations to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund topped $100,000 earlier this week and continue to add up. As it has for 66 years, the toy fund purchased and distributed toys and made sure children had presents to unwrap even though their parents are struggling.

Some of those children are:

A 9-year-old boy with learning disabilities and his 2-year-old sister. Their single mother attends community college and works 30 hours a week in the midcoast area, but couldn’t provide the Christmas they deserve. Donors to the toy fund did.

An 11-year-old boy who loves art and his precocious 8-year-old sister. They are being raised by their grandmother in Cumberland County, who has struggled since their grandfather died in 2012. They had presents to unwrap thanks to the toy fund.

A 7-year-old boy and his 4-year-old sister. Their single father lost his job and the family’s apartment when he got injured and needed surgery, and now they all live in their grandmother’s house. The family has no money for presents, but the kids woke up on Christmas morning to find gifts.

Two brothers, ages 7 and 8, who live in the Portland area and “have endured more pain than anyone should ever have to in their entire lives,” according to their mother. She lost her way when the boy’s father died, she wrote to the fund, becoming addicted to drugs and causing more pain for the boys and the rest of her family.

Now sober and rebuilding her relationships with family members, the woman wrote to the fund that she could not afford to buy gifts for her boys.

The toy fund helped.

“It hasn’t been an easy journey by any means, but with love and faith we’ve managed and will continue to do so,” she wrote. “Thank you and God bless.”

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund is using donations from readers to provide toys to thousands of Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents. The fund helps needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties.

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 $116,422.30.


Ho Ho Holes Cornhole Tournament $500

Anonymous $100

To those in need – Merry Christmas $50

In memory of Alfred O Hero Jr. $10

Cindy Johnston $20

In memory of Don, Deanie & Randy Mooers who loved Christmas $30

In memory of Buckwheat, Cheetah-Bop, Zeus, Sammy, Murph the Surf, Pugsley $20

Merry Christmas to all the children – John & June McClean $100

In memory of Russ & Ginny Dorr from Russell & Donna Dorr $100

Isabella Joyce $100

Eva Joyce $100

Anonymous $200

In memory of Florence & Chandler Coffin $100

In honor of Deb’s favorite cause from JK, TK, AK $300

In memory of Sharon Record who loved children $100

Merry Christmas from Lakin & Olivia $50

Warm holiday wishes from Sandra & Brian Livingston $250

Merry Christmas from Jake and Emily $50

Merry Christmas in memory of Dan B Litchfield $100

Happy to participate – Eileen Purdy $25

Gift made on behalf of previous recipients. The Rush family will never forget there were toys for 3 kids 18 yrs ago $500

From Nana and Papa –Merry Christmas! $500

Merry Christmas – Frances, Horace & Alison Hildreth $200

In loving memory of Mom & Dad, Cliff & Gerry Ashley – from Daughter Joan $25

Merry Christmas – Evelyn Zaciewski $50

In memory of Bob Cushman $50

In memory of T & WH $50

Judith A and David C. Kelly $50

Francis Fay $100

Howie’s Pub Raffle $255

In memory of Lynne and Nat $100

William Poole $50

Jane & AJ Candelore $100

Treekeepers $250

In lieu of gifts for Pam and Bruce Bicknell $100

James Rogers $50

In memory of Diana $25

In memory of Carol & John Conley and our friend Sharon Harvie $100

For Robert Judge – In memory of Peggy Caffrey $50

Equinox $50

In memory of Mary Bibro and William & Mildred Davis $200

Wendy Kemp $25

Press Herald Toy Fund Book and Candy sales $689

In memory of Charlie & Ray Adam – Jane and Stephen Parker $100

Press Herald Toy Fund Calendar Raffle $1,720

Total today: $7,594

Total year to date: $116,422.30

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