A mother of twins in southern Maine has a message for the kind readers of the Portland Press Herald.

“Merry Christmas. I wanted to thank everyone for helping me with my kids for Christmas. After I paid all my bills I didn’t have anything left. It’s people like all of you that help show people do really care! Thank all of you again.”

The generosity of readers and the dedication of volunteers are the foundation of the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts, which uses donations to buy toys for 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 charity has so far raised more than $110,000 this season, and donations are still needed to keep the project going. Donations received throughout the year are used to purchase gifts – a task completed each summer – and package and distribute them to families in need.

When the charity was founded 68 years ago, it raised $3,903. The fund now raises many times that and allows thousands of children to share in the joy of the holidays.

The fund provides new age-appropriate toys to needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties.


Donations received during the holiday season are published in the newspaper and keep the fund going year after year. Donations also are accepted year-round and ensure that the fund will have the resources to buy gifts the next year.


Anonymous $200

For toys for children in need The Marr family $100

Murray Family Foundation $200

Treekeepers, Johnson’s Aboriculture $250


Phyllis & Bob Wagstaff $100

Michael & Nancy Miller $500

Merry Christmas! Dan & Jeanne Ouellette $100

Portland Potluck – The Forecaster $112

Year to date: $112,830.18

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