It’s the kind of note that warms hearts at the Press Herald Toy Fund.

“My husband remembers many Christmases as a child when, if it wasn’t for Bruce Roberts, he would not have had gifts. Thank you for what you do for families in need.”

Bruce Roberts was the original name of the fund because, when it was launched in 1949, the newspaper editor who wrote appeals for help had chosen the name as his byline.

The note arrived with an annual donation from Peggy and Jim Folland of Portland, and the story behind it began on Peaks Island in the 1950s.

Jim Folland grew up on the Casco Bay Island in the ’50s and ’60s, one of four children in a family that didn’t have money to celebrate Christmas.

“We didn’t always have money. My father was either working or he wasn’t,” Jim Folland remembered.

He said it was no secret in his family that the toys he and his siblings received at Christmas came from the newspaper’s toy fund. “My mother was one who appreciated everything that was done for us,” he said.

While Peaks Island is now a summer colony for more wealthy families, it was not so decades ago. While a great place for a child to play and explore, there was a lot of poverty on the island, Jim Folland said. “I think (the toy fund) helped a lot of kids on the island back then.”

Peggy met Jim years later when her family was spending a summer on the island. She eventually learned about her husband’s family having little money and about how the toy fund helped them. And now they give to the fund every year to make sure other children get the same help.

At this time of year, Peggy Folland said, “We always think about other people who have nothing.”

Today’s Donations

In memory of Matthew & Evelyn Barron from the Staff at the Barron Center. Happy Holidays! $255

In loving memory of George and Lee $1,000

First Congregational Church of Scarborough $500

Linda Freedman $100

Cynthia & Harry Eddy $50

In memory of Janet L. Foley $250

Carol & Brian Keroack $100

Merry Christmas from Caleb and Cara! $25

In honor of our grandchildren: Alanna, Sam, Jordan, Noah, Lara, James, Meriwether, Finn, Oliver, Maria, Ethan, & Dara. Love, William & Mary Jean Horr $240

In honor of Dave $100

Ethel & Ronald Phinney $25

NEXTERA Enery Resources – Wyman $400

In honor of Susan Penna Bernier and in memory of L. Philip Bernier $200

In loving memory of Leslie & Belinda Gray $25

In loving memory of Raymond & Lola Leavitt $25

J. Alexander Boardman $100

In memory of my mother, Dorothy $50

In memory of my grandfather, George Grise, who loved little children. $25

In loving mEmory of Paul Phillips Jr. and David Phillips from their family $100

In loving memory of Marissa Kennedy (2008-2018) $50

Thank you for your dedication and hard work to brighten a child’s Christmas! Dorothy Egers $50

Robert & Linell Slaktowicz $25

In memory of Barry M. Campbell (1946-1995) – Vietnam Veteran $100

In memory of Nathan Eloian from David and Mark $100

In loving memory of Herbert H. Fricke $100

In memory of William Lappin. Love, Mom & Dad $50

Ellen & Mark Russell $100

Christmas Greetings from El $30

Grateful for my two grandsons: Matthew and Max $30

Robert & Carolyn Christie $50

Linda Hanscom $75

In memory of Ed & Kathryn Kelly of Waltham, Mass. $25

Cumberland County Pomona Grange No 15 $100

In memory of David S. Waite $50

Carol Potter $50

Anonymous $50

Anonymous $20

In memory of Mary McCarthy $100

Anonymous $150

Justin, Kristen & Brynn Reardon $30

In loving memory of Catherine Chase and Debra O’Brion, who are greatly missed each and every day. Chase, O’Brion, Fogg, Peterson, and Heak families. $550

Total to date: $65,684


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