A mother from southern Maine is caring for two young children and for her ailing mother, a situation that means both her energy and finances are spread thin.

She wrote to the Press Herald Toy Fund to ask for help so her daughters will have holiday gifts to unwrap and enjoy despite the pressures facing their family.

“I’m a single mother to my 2-year-old and 8-year-old. I raise both girls myself with no help,” their mother wrote in a note attached to her application for help.

“I also take care of my 72-year-old mother full time. She has a lot of medical problems. I get paid to care for her, except when she is in the hospital, then I do not. She has been in and out of the hospital the past few months, so expenses are very tight with winter fast approaching,” she wrote.

“I have to pay for taxes and vehicle repairs and firewood, which doesn’t leave much for holidays. So it would be wonderful to get some help this year.

“Thank you very much.”

n 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.

n 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.

n 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.

n FOR MORE INFORMATION, go to: pressheraldtoyfund.org.

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

TODAY’S DONATIONS

In honor of our grandchildren Piper, Scarlett, Dylan, Camdyn, Memphis and Iris. Merry Christmas from Grammy and Grampy Floyd $60

Teresa Holden $100

In memory of Greg Murphey $10

Patricia Buttner $30

Merry Christmas! Rusty and Sally Bennett $100

Merry Christmas from Anne and Bob Hall $75

In memory of Phillip and Henrietta Larou $25

Paul Loring $100

Rachel Hendrickson $50

Lynn McCabe $100

In memory of James and Lutie Barr $300

John Mcclean $100

Merry Christmas! The Capriolas $50

Given in memory of Sharon A. Sayward by her husband, Dennis $100

In honor of Avery, Ellie, Colin and David $100

For the elves! $100

In memory of Holly Provencher $50

In memory of our parents, Paul and Peg Garvin and Keith and Dee Libby, Love Jack and Pat $125

Regan and Russell $100

In memory of Linda G. Doughty $100

Total for year $34,556