Some notes to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund are just a few words, in between a humble “please” and a sincere “thank you.”

A mother from Cumberland County wanted us to know a little more about her family and what Christmas means to them. And she speaks for many others.

“There are three of us in our household,” she wrote, including the woman, her husband and their 6-year-old daughter.

“We are just trying to get back on our feet. I am disabled, and my husband just found a job after an extended time unemployed. It is very hard for us to make ends meet. My husband does not earn much and my disability payments are minimal.”

The couple also share custody of her husband’s three children from a previous marriage. His salary pays to support them, too, a responsibility they fully embrace.

“Coupled with that and other bills, we have been on the brink of homelessness more than once in the past year. But we held our heads high knowing that we are making an honest effort.


“We make the best of each Christmas, but with four children to purchase gifts for, it is a time of stress and worry for my husband and I, though we keep it a secret from the children. We often fret in private about how to make Christmas special for each child and we do our best to treat our children equally.

“We also do our best to ensure that our kids remember the true spirit of Christmas, that of giving, generosity and kindness. We are in true hopes that you can help us give our kind-hearted child the kind of special Christmas that makes memories for a little 6-year-old. Children are only small for a short time, and we try to make the most of all of it.

“Thank you so much!”

That 6-year-old, and thousands of other children like her, will find gifts waiting to be unwrapped, gifts purchased with donations from the readers of this newspaper and packaged and delivered by volunteers who make the Toy Fund work.

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts, the full name of the fund, continues to accept donations from readers so it can provide toys to 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.

Donations, which are accepted through the holiday season and year-round, are needed now to help the fund keep that tradition going.


The fund – now in its 68th year – accepts applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties.

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.



Merry Christmas! The Riverside Women’s Golf Association $480

“Brushstrokes with Impact” Maria Castellano-Usery $100


Triangle Lodge No.1, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons – to help the Toy Fund make winter happier for children $1,000.

Sons of Quint Band fundraiser $638

In memory of Uncle Al’s generosity $20

In memory of Martha Hartford, from Buzz and Sandra $50

In memory of Susan Donnell Konkel, from Harry Konkel $500

For the joy and magic of Christmas for all children $100


In memory of Grampa & Grammy Hawkes $25

Merry Xmas Frank & Eileen Frye $40

Jenifer Stewart $100

The Maine Nephrology Staff $200

Thomas & Mary Emerson $50

Ben Odom $50


In memory of Ella Bickford, from John Bickford $25

In loving memory of Tom Cook, from his family $25

Patricia & Brian Hussey $25

In loving memory of Jean Deshaies, and Ernestine & Hector Roux – Ron & Denise $50

In memory of Nana and Grampy $100

In memory of Blanche Huntley, Beverly & Virgil Plaisted, and Louis Peters $100


Jamisya and Quincey Lyden, and Brylee Paterson $50

In memory of George A. Stewart Jr. $50

In memory of Anne & Paul Chandler $50

The Stewart family $50

Robert & Ann Rossi $25

The Anderson family $75


In memory of Tommie C., Dad C., Mom & Dad O. $25

In honor of my G-Grandchildren – Carol Wernig $50

William Pollack Jr. & Sr. $100

Beverly Hastings $25

Michael & Dona Boissonneault $100

Hunter, Jasper, Scarlett & Charlie June $30


In memory of Pastor Nancy $25

Remembering with love, Rita I. Greenlaw, John Greenlaw, Beverly Wallace, and Scoobie $100

Portland Potluck Portland Press Herald $518

Portland Potluck Macpage $260

Portland Potluck Winxnet $206.07

Portland Potluck Broadreach Public Relations $300


Portland Potluck SMRT $1,180

Portland Potluck Cross Insurance Employee Benefits $650

Portland Potluck Pine Tree Society $100

In memory of loving grandparents, Gretchen Reiche Terhune $50

Helen Kaye $30

In memory of Deb and Brian! From the Kroot kids and the Pups $250


In loving memory of John, Alice, and Helen Flaherty, from Alicia $50

In honor of Judith and Gordon Oliver $25

The Griswolds $50

Richard and Jennifer Hubbell $200

The O’Donovan family $100

Year to date: $108,949.07

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