Several years ago, Kerry Norton’s family stopped giving her birthday gifts.

That was OK with the grandmother from Buxton. In fact, it was her idea.

“She says she doesn’t need anything and just asks that family members make donations in her honor,” said Jessamyn Norton, her daughter-in-law.

So, as they have for several years, Jessamyn’s family sent a $100 check to the Press Herald Toy Fund with a note: “In honor of Kerry Norton’s birthday. Kerry loves Christmas and children and wants nothing more than her birthday gift to be routed to families in need in southern Maine.”

The choice of charities was a natural, Jessamyn Norton said.

“She loves kids. She worked in different day care (centers) and is now retired and watching her grandchildren,” she said. “She just thinks it’s important that all kids get something for Christmas.”

Kerry Norton, who turns 65 on Dec. 22, said she couldn’t be more pleased with her “gift.”

She grew up one of seven children and can remember how her parents sometimes struggled, she said.

“I know there are a lot of families out there that depend on the toy fund,” she said. “It’s such a wonderful cause.”

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 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 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.


SEE MORE STORIES about the fund at


To help families provide for their children for the holidays. All children deserve to have Christmas. $50

Anonymous $100

Anonymous $100

In memory of my childhood filled with love! $50

Tracy and David Ramsey $100

Happy Holidays! $50

In memory of my Dad, George Nichols, from Nancy and Doug $100

In memory of Dan Hurst, from Tyler, Rachael, Emilie and Abbie $20

In loving memory of Constance Tripp $100

Happy Holidays! From LeeAnn and Garrett $50

Merry Christmas! Santa $100

In memory of Jim and Janice Owen $50

Doug and Andrea Gathany $50

Anonymous $1,000

In loving memory of Darlene & Larry Holsten ….$50

In memory of John and Lorena Knight, Red, Marie and Gayle Crapser $50

In honor of our 10 great-grandchildren $80

Philip Marvel Jr. $50

Merry Christmas! Brooke & Danielle $100

In memory of Robert Pettengill, from the kids $40

In memory of Alice & Bill Amero, from the kids $40

J Gray $100

Total for year $26,781

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