While reader donations keep the 69-year-old Press Herald Toy Fund going, so do volunteers like Barbara Judge.

Judge and her sister, Nancy Chamberlain, are in their fourth year volunteering for the fund. They process applications, sort and package toys and hand out the gifts to parents, all of whom are struggling and have turned to the charity to brighten the holidays for their children. Judge said she especially enjoys giving worried parents the news that their children will have gifts on Christmas.

“They’re so grateful. That’s one of the things I love,” Judge said.

Volunteers also sometimes set up and run fundraisers, which supplement the reader donations used to buy the toys. In fact, Judge spent her Friday evening preparing for a raffle taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Freeport Harraseeket Grange on Elm Street in Freeport. Judge and other volunteers gathered dozens of donated items, including gift baskets and gift certificates to local businesses. The public is invited and all the money raised from raffle ticket sales will go to the fund, she said.

Raising money is important work, too, Judge said. But it’s hard to beat seeing the smiles on parents’ faces when they come to get the gifts for their children.

“They are so happy.”

THE 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. Now in its 69th year, the fund is accepting applications for toys from needy families in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Lincoln 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 or 791-6600 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, go to: pressheraldtoyfund.org.

SEE MORE STORIES about the fund at pressherald.com/press-herald-toy-fund/.

TODAY’S DONATIONS

Georgina Irving $100

Elizabeth Goldsmith $25

Danuta Barnard $50

In memory of Steven Keating & Brendan Keating $100

In memory of Barbara Bolster, who loved Christmas $25

Sue & Russ Kimball $20

In memory of Red & Dot Swett $100

Anonymous $25

The Children $50

In memory of “Just call me Joe” Bromley $30

Philip Coupe & Alexia Pappas $50

Thomas Hickey $50

In honor of my grandchildren – Brandon, Connor, Samantha and Trevor.. $100

James & Maureen Gorman $2,000

A.J. Candelore $150

Anonymous $100

Anonymous $100

Total for the year $22,217


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