A midcoast family suddenly found itself without a car – and an income – weeks before the holidays, so it turned to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund for help.

“Recently we have had some hard times,” the mother of three young children wrote to the fund. “We were a two-vehicle family. Unfortunately, one vehicle now has a blown transmission. The other broke down and requires a few hundred dollars to fix.

“My fiance is a self-employed carpenter, and also a very hard worker. Without his truck (the bad transmission), he had to drop three jobs that he had lined up. We are now working on a plan to fix the other vehicle so he would be able to use it for work.”

Even paying for the repairs, let alone buying a second vehicle, is a struggle financially. And with no money to spare and three kids anticipating Christmas, the family asked for help.

“We are living on about $300 a week right now, which has been tough,” the mother wrote. “Our kids are really great kids and we would really appreciate some help in giving them a nice Christmas.”

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts 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. Bruce Roberts was the original pen name of the newspaper columnist who co-founded the fund in 1949.

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