A kindly bus driver in Scarborough continues to inspire one young passenger to pay it forward, and the relationship has helped the Press Herald Toy Fund spread holiday joy for the past three years.

Amelia Odlin, now 7, recently sent a $25 check to the fund. “In honor of my wonderful bus driver, Mr Mike Lavallee, Bus 31, Scarborough,” read the note attached to the donation. Amelia started the tradition as a kindergartner with help from her mother, Maria, herself a longtime supporter of the toy drive.

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts uses 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 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.

Donations to the fund 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.