A single father raising a child with special needs says he needs help to give his son and his daughter the joyful holiday they deserve.

“I am writing to you in order to request assistance for gifts for my two children,” he wrote to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund.

His son is 11 and “severely autistic and nonverbal,” he wrote. His daughter is 13 and has been a big help at home. They live in southern Maine, and he works as much as he can while caring for the kids.

“Due to my son’s disability, it has been hard, if not impossible, to find safe and qualified child care. Because of this, I’m only able to work part time. (He) garners a lot of attention, thus my daughter doesn’t get the attention she needs and deserves. She has shown amazing unselfishness and helps out tremendously with her brother!”

Both children will have gifts to open thanks to the readers who donate to the toy fund.

“I wish to thank you for any assistance you can give my family, and for all you do for all families that seek your assistance,” he wrote.

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 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.



In honor of our grandchildren & great grandson – Angela, Matthew, Andrea, Joshuha, Jeremy, Jameson & Andre. Janice & Roger Merrow $50

In memory of Blanche and Fernald Goulette from their children. $50

Jeanne & Daniel Sullivan $40

In memory of Johnny Connolly $100

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Deering Pavilion Resident Council and residents! $50

In memory of Paul E Phillips Jr and David P Phillips. Loved and missed by family $100

In memory of Ben & Arlene Thompson, Deborah Gilmore, and Martin Arnole. $50

In memory of my aunt and uncle – Larry & Aldona Barnes of Falmouth Foreside – Leslie Lawrence $25

From five wonderful grandchildren – Liam, Annie, Ella, Lauren & Kirsten $50

David Hiatt and Gwen Keighley – For the children. $100

Barron Center Employees $130

In memory of Isabelle and Whitney Caldwell by Judith Caldwell-Manion $100

In memory of Pat & John Scanlan $100

In memory of Bob Kirby and Maggie McLoughlin. I miss you both. $30

Anthony, Love always and forever, Nana and Grampa $100

Karen & Gerry $50

In memory of Aunt Nancy $50

In loving memory of our dad and grampie, James (Jim) D Wallace, who faithfully donated to the fund each year. Wallace kids & Grandkids. $50

In memory of Laurine A Coggins $100

In celebration of baby Tom $100

Anonymous $25

Willian & Barbara Merten $100

Anonymous $30

In memory of Joe & Nora Nappi $150

Wally & Eileen Garroway $50

In memory of Christmas at 42 $25

In honor of Charlie (Buddy) McSwigin, who loved his Judy and Xmas $300

In memory of Jill Hutchins and Kelly Thibodeau $30

Merry Christmas! $100

Merry Christmas from 10 year old 5th grader who held a bake sale for the Toy Fund. Maura W Kenney $100

The Lady Oreiades $250

Anonymous $250

Betsy Pelikan and Craig Denekas $100

Year to date: $71,829

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