A new tradition was born this year at the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund.

Organizers of the fund created a 31-day raffle that raised a total of $1,700 to help buy holiday gifts for kids who would otherwise go without. It works like this: Individuals and businesses donated 31 items or gift certificates valued at anywhere from $50 to $250. The prizes included gift certificates to Portland Stage, a Red Claws game and a round of golf for four at Riverside. They also included a Freeport throw from Brahms Mount and a Dana Heacock print from Abacus.

Tickets to the raffle were sold for $20 each or $100 for six. A winner was drawn every day for the prize attached to that date on the calendar.

Kathleen Meade, executive director of the toy fund, said the first year went well and the raffle is sure to return in 2016. Businesses that missed out this year have already said they want to donate a prize next year, she said.

The 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 – now in its 66th year – 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 $122,617.57.

DONATIONS

Merry Christmas from KAK $30

In loving memory of Henry Binder $25

In memory of Kyle St. Clair. Miss you – Pa and Jeanie $25

James and Jane Newcomb $50

From Rusty and Mittens $40

In loving memory of John O. Greenlaw $100

For grandmother who stepped up, from Hilda Michaud $50

In memory of family members, from Carol Poirier $25

Merry Christmas from the Colville family $100

I hope this helps in some small way $50

In memory of Margaret and Stanley Reed $100

Anonymous $100

Barry and Pat Unnold $500

Today’s total: $1,195

Total year to date: $122,617.57

filed under: