For seven years, a South Portland company that buys and sells jewelry has turned unwanted costume jewelry into money that it gives to local charities.

The children served by the Press Herald Toy Fund are the latest to benefit from the creative fundraiser.

Maine Gold & Silver launched the charity fundraiser in 2011 after staff members watched pounds of costume jewelry and silver-plated items head to the trash heap. The business collects the items that customers cannot sell for cash and want to donate. Then it sends them to a refinery, which extracts the precious metals and waives all of its costs.

The metals are sold for cash that is then donated to a variety of local charities on behalf of Maine Gold & Silver’s customers and staff.

“Our wonderful customers have rallied behind us with this program. Once they find out what we are doing, they go home and check for anything they can donate,” Rebecca Kirby wrote in a letter to the toy fund.

Over the past seven years, the fund has raised and donated a total of about $60,000 to such organizations as the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland or the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

The Press Herald Toy Fund recently got its generous donation with a note: “Enclosed is a check for $1,300 we hope you are able to put to good use.”

That won’t be difficult. The unwanted jewelry will buy toys to brighten the holidays for Maine children whose families are struggling to get by.

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

The customers & staff of Maine Gold & Silver  $1,300

In honor of Kathleen Meade, from Ann B. Deering  $100

Merry Christmas! Kathy & Michael Camire  $100

Robert H. Tweedie  $100

Frank A. Pecoraro  $1,000

Mr. & Mrs. Daniel & Sherry Hutchins  $250

Anonymous  $100

Wrigley sez “Ho Ho Ho!”  $100

Diana and Tom Allen  $150

Anthony will love you always, Nana & Grampa  $200

In memory of Lori Fletcher  $100

Linda Burns  $30

Brayden & Owen Bishop  $50

In memory of Caiombe  $1,000

Anonymous  $100

Merry Christmas! John & Pam Fridlington  $250

In honor of my father, Ross, the one and only  $75

In memory of Bev Wallace  $500

Merry Christmas! Kathy, Jay, Jamie and Jeanna . $200

Petie Tolin  $20

To share with other kids, Kier and Erik Connolly  $30

Merry Christmas to all! Carol Riley  $30

Wishing you a Merry Christmas & a blessed upcoming year! Kim Acquilano & Joanne Roussin  $75

In memory of Drew  $40

Don & Bev Esson  $100

Total for year  $32,781


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