A pair of mothers from southern Maine sent notes to the Press Herald Toy Fund saying that beyond their struggles to pay for rent and groceries, their children are facing challenges of their own.

“I don’t have income and am waiting for a decision from Social Security (about disability benefits),” one mother wrote. “We as a family have faced many challenges this year, from homelessness and lack of income to a child with special needs. Any help to provide the children with Christmas gifts will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”

A different mother wrote that she and her boyfriend are raising four kids, from 8 months old to 12 years old.

“It is a struggle every day in our home to make sure our kids have what they need – food on the table and clothes on their backs. Even with (my boyfriend) working, what money he makes goes to pay for the bills for us to have a home. I am not one to ask for help, but this year we really could use the help.

“With all the problems that my boys have had with ADHD and anxiety, and then with the baby … it’s hard for me to get a job while making sure to get my kids to appointments they need.”

Because of readers’ support for the toy fund, both families will be able to give their children reasons to smile on the holidays.

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

Happy Holidays! Lynn, Stephanie, Ethan and Noah Eckersley-Ray $200

Merry Christmas! $100

In memory of my sister Joan $50

Henty and Phil La Rou $200

In memory of our daughter Lerin, love Robert and Maryanne Foley $100

In loving memory of Mary C. Dowd, who loved Christmas and giving to children. From Mary Austin Dowd and George Calvert $200

In memory of Isaiah Makonnen $30

Helen and Colin Robinson $400

In loving memory of Dorothy Legassie and Linda Miller, from the family $350

Merry Christmas to all! Jeff, Ellen and Connor Worthing $75

In loving memory of our parents, Carl and Millie Maksut $50

In loving memory of our parents, Joseph and Jacqueline Gagne $50

In memory of Pop, Alan Goddard, and Ron’s mom, Muz, Beulah Green $25

In memory of my mother $150

The 5 Grands $25

Kenneth and Nancy Gordon $100

In memory of Chas Towle Jr. $250

In loving memory of Bob Thomas $50

Alfred and Phyllis Fuchs $50

In memory of Ronald Leeman $25

Robert and Jean Cash $75

Fred and Diane Kaufman $25

Peggy and Jim Folland $100

In memory of past Westbrook Lions and in honor of current Westbrook Lions $100

Toys and Joy $50

In memory of Charlie and Tommy $75

Year to date: $55,984