A single mother of two kids says she doesn’t know where her family will spend Christmas this year, although the chances are it will be in a hotel room or a shelter.

“We are currently homeless,” she wrote on her application for help from the Press Herald Toy Fund.

The note is one of many flowing into the toy fund as it gears up to distribute holiday gifts for the 68th year. The fund, founded in 1949, uses financial donations from readers of the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram to buy toys, crafts and other gifts for thousands of Maine children who would otherwise have little to smile about during the holidays because of hardships faced by their families.

The single mother who wrote about being homeless lives in the Portland area with a 10-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. Except for food stamps to buy groceries, their sole income is $750 a month in survivor benefits that her daughter receives because the girl’s father died when she was 2.

“All I have to my name is a car and I’m not sure I can keep it where I have no income myself,” she wrote. “I use (the $750 in monthly benefits) to clothe the kids, pay the car and insurance, and (with) the little bit that’s left over I get us hotel rooms, … but $750 doesn’t go far.”

While she didn’t know where they would be to unwrap gifts this year, help from the toy fund would give her kids something to smile about.


“My kids have had a rough year and this would just make their 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.

The fund – now in its 68th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties.

Applications can be downloaded at pressheraldtoyfund.org or picked up at the Press Herald’s Welcome Center at 295 Gannett Drive in South Portland. Call 791-6672 to have one mailed to you.

Donations to help buy the toys can be made at pressheraldtoyfund.org 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.

For more information, go to: pressheraldtoyfund.org.

See more stories about the fund at pressherald.com/press-herald-toy-fund/.

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