A woman in southern Maine wrote to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund that she’s more confident than ever about a bright future for her family.

But that’s meant some sacrifices, she wrote, and right now she needs help.

“Hi. We are struggling,” she wrote.

The single mother has been working hard to build a long-term career while at the same time supporting four children, including three school-age boys and an “adorable” 2-year-old daughter, she wrote.

She just finished a career training program that led to a new full-time job, which she began in the fall, and is applying to get an associate degree in lab sciences to improve her earning power and open up new job opportunities.

All of which left her unable to provide holiday gifts for her children this year.

“I need help. I will be busy trying to catch up on my bills that have lapsed without a steady income. Any help would be greatly appreciated.”

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.

TOY FUND DONATIONS

Richard Auteuil Jr. $100

In memory of my mother, Carol Denison Libby $50

For love of Clara $30

Susan & J. David Haynes $50

Harold Warren & Dolores Carver – In memory of our loved ones $100

In memory of Norm & Theresa – Janet & Donald Leaver $50

From Punkin & me $25

John & Barbara Heath $50

Thank you for your good work! Janet Silvers $25

Cindy’s $25

Southern Maine Labor Council $250

Anonymous $500

Haley & Aldrich Inc. $100

Mark Kingston $200

Ken & Jill Ryan $100

Patricia Noonan $150

In memory of Oma and Gramps – JPC $250

Gaston Lee $50

Thomas & Holly McKenny $500

In memory of Willis Jodrie, from his loving family – Ken, Sandy, Ria & Della Jodrie $50

Anonymous $25

Kathleen & James Moreau $50

In memory of my husband, Joe, and my boxer, Pogie $50

Bailey & Ramona Toderico $50

Pauline Kenniston $20

Jean Campbell $100

In memory of Sena & Warren Herbert and Irene & Henry Ducharme $25

In loving memory of our parents, Bill & Barbara Caswell $25

In memory of Rose and Ralph $50

Year to date: $60,604