The war in Iraq continues to take a toll on the family of a U.S Army veteran in Maine. It also was threatening to spoil the holidays for a 13-year-old girl who wasn’t even born when the war began.

The girl’s mother shared some of the family’s story in a note asking for help from the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund. Help that will be provided thanks to donations from newspaper readers.

“I am a divorced single mother of a 13-year-old girl who works very hard in school and who is a great kid. Her father and I got divorced. Her father was in the army and served in Iraq. When he got home, things changed for us. We struggled, which ended up in divorce. So our whole life changed. I have been struggling ever since.

“So, thank you for any help… Thank you.”

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 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 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.


In memory of Marie $50

In memory of Steven Keating $100

Peggy Graham $25

Nancy & Matthew Peck $25

In memory of Geraldine and Warren $100

Burnell’s Towing $50

Thomas Floos & Patricia McBride $100

In memory of Jim & Janice Owen $50

In memory of JANAK $100

In loving memory of Emmons & Joan Johnson from their family $200

In loving memory of Jane E Quirk from Quirkie $100

In memory of Mike Lewis $200

Dylan – Sam – AJ $100

Nancy Bogg & Mark Kiefer $100

Kermit & Suzanne McCormack $100

Patricia & Oliver Anfrews $50

Beverly & Donald Esson $100

A grateful grammy of 10 $500

Walter & Judith Deskus $100

Consolidated Home Improvements $50

Anonymous $50

James & Ilona Feeney $100

Robert Tweedie $100

Regan & Russell LLC $100

Merry Christmas! Steven & Sandra Capriola $50

William & Lori Cook $150

Cecily & John Haeger $200

Total year to date: $40,224

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