A generous donation rolled into the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund recently from the Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund. The $250 is being put to good use, helping to buy toys for kids who might otherwise go without during the holidays.

But like many gifts that arrive in memory of friends or loved ones, there’s a story behind that check. Who was this guy, Jack McPhillips?

Jack McPhillips was a music lover and a kind-hearted, outgoing man who had an especially wide circle of friends. He especially loved Maine’s legendary folk bands Devonsquare and Schooner Fare and became close friends with the musicians. In fact, he organized a joint concert with the bands in 1979, and a reunion concert in 1980.

The concert became a tradition, and when Jack died in the early 1980s at the age of 34, the bands decided to continue the annual concerts and use them to raise money for local charities. The Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund was born.

And they are still going. The 39th annual reunion concert is scheduled to take place March 25, 2018, at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

The Maine musicians associated with those bands, as well as Jack’s family and friends, have used the fund to help Mainers in moments of crisis and need, such as when an oil tank runs dry or a house goes up in flames. It’s the kind of thing Jack would do, his friends would say.


It’s also the kind of thing the toy fund does with gifts like the one made in Jack’s name.

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.




Anonymous $100

Anonymous $150

Merry Christmas to All! Pat & Steve $100

Peter & Kris Lemay $25

In loving memory of Patricia M. Talbot, from Dick & Cheryl Talbot $50


Anonymous $100

Anonymous $40

In memory of Isaiah Makonnen $30

Anonymous $20

Season’s Greetings from Wrigley! $100

Merry Christmas! Mary Wall $20


Sue Hilton $50

Everyone deserves a little magic & a lot of kindness. Merry Christmas! $100

In memory of Constance Tripp – R.I.P. $20

Karl Thompson $60

Lloyd David $100

Roxane A. Cole $100


Gretchen & O. Ray Stanton $100

Anita Haskell $25

Anonymous $200

Anonymous $5

Anonymous $25

Whitney and Maria Drake $250


Anonymous $1000

The Castoldis $150

So all children may have joy at Christmas $500

In loving memory of Dick and Mim Britton, who made Christmas magical, from Susan Britton Pettingill $50

Lee Dernehl $100

Wishing you a very happy holiday, and a warm and wonderful New Year $50


Thanks for helping kids in need! Kristin Irgens $50

Anonymous $100

In memory of my parents, Pete & Beverly Beckwith, from Cindy Beckwith Fallona $100

In memory of John & Dolly Moore from Jack $100

Peace $30

Year to date total: $9,137

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