The readers of the Portland Press Herald never get to meet the children who receive the holiday gifts that their generosity makes possible.

But sometimes the notes sent by proud parents provide a glimpse.

“Our son is an amazing 3½-year-old boy. ALL BOY,” a mother from southern Maine wrote to the fund. “He loves to play with construction trucks, monster trucks, race cars – any vehicle, really. He’s very smart and has learned most of his alphabet and counting and colors. He is very tall. And he loves to be outside.”

He also deserves more than she and her husband can provide, she wrote.

“My husband and I both work locally, which, as lucky as we are, does not provide a large income. We work opposite shifts in order to care for our son. Unfortunately, even with two incomes, we struggle to just feed our family, let alone have extra cash for toys for Christmas,” she wrote. “Our son is our world and we would like him to have a small Christmas. Any help is very much appreciated. 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 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 our great grandfather Bob Beith – Bruce Roberts – from Savannah & Holly $50

Tux Turkel $50

In honor of Tony Maier $100

From a loving grandmother in honor of grandchildren, great grands and great great grands – Aubes, Strouts & Arsenaults $200

Barbara Gauditz $100

In memory of Nikolas and Gilda from Alice Lewis $50

In loving memory of Garrett Brackett. Love always, Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Libby and Reegan $100

Merry Christmas! Love, Donna and Frank $50

In memory of Herbert Fricke $100

Nancy Babcock $35

Gary Dunn $25

Irene Mulkern $100

For the children – Arnold and Susan Harmon $100

Nancy Whitehouse $20

Lowell Pease $20

Anastasia Goodwin $50

David and Susan Wheatland $100

Merry Christmas! Jodi McMath $50

In memory of Marie Brien, beloved Mama, Nana, and Auntie Re – from Kathie, Warren and Ernie $25

In memory of Linda J. Doughty $100

Joseph Fagone $50

Darby Marie $20

Linda Michaels $200

Brayden and Owen Bishop $50

Best Wishes from Drumlin Environmental $150

In memory of Joan Gagnon $100

Merry Christmas from Aubree $25

In memory of our brother, James K. Donahue $50

In memory of Larry Dean $15

In memory of Chas Towle Jr. $500

Merry Christmas! Helen Peterson $20

In loving memory of Tom, Gram and Papa, and Grammy D. Missing you always, XO Patty $200

Judy Benoit $100

Marilyn and Virgil Weeman  $50

A child’s smile on Christmas morning is the greatest gift of all! $100

Laddie Demer $100

Michael Courts $25

In memory of my mother $100

Ron and Barbara Boes $100

Ivy Rebekah Lodge $25

In honor of Terry and Figgs from Sue and Tom. Merry Christmas! $200

Total year to date: $54,554

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