They arrive with the mail like faithful friends. Notes from longtime supporters are dropped off each day attached to checks for $50, or $100 or $500.

For Press Herald Toy Fund Executive Director Kathleen Meade, the notes are a reminder of the loyal support that has kept the charity going for 69 years.

There are the checks from the employees of Sevee & Maher Engineers Inc., D&G Machine Products Inc. and Drumlin Environmental LLC, among other longtime business donors. There are the donations in memory of Henrietta “Henty” LaRou, the annual check from the Riverside Women’s Golf Association and the check from JOCIJIANNA, a blend of the first names of five siblings who have carried on the legacy of donating that their parents began when the fund was launched in 1949.

“All of the old, familiar names,” Meade said.

There also are new, unfamiliar names, and these give Meade hope that the fund will keep going with the support of new generations of donors.

Some donations were made this year in honor of President George H.W. Bush, who died in November. Maine Gold & Silver in South Portland and Walmart Logistics in Lewiston chose the toy fund as a beneficiary this year. And “Queso the Wonder Dog” made a debut in the donor’s list with a note wishing all the children a Feliz Navidad.


Overall, donations are running slightly behind the pace set last year, despite the increased demand for help this year.

There is still time to give, however. And checks continue to arrive each day, from both old friends and new ones.

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. Founded in 1949, the fund is accepting applications for toys from needy families in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Lincoln and Knox counties.

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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, call 791-6672 or go to:

SEE MORE STORIES about the fund at



Treekeepers LLC $250

AAA Energy Services: employee donation and company match $830

In memory of Jane and Don $25

John Hunnewell $50

Eugene and Teddy Paschke $25


In loving memory of Garrett Brackett. Love always, Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Libby and Reegan $100

In memory of Ada Cook $500

In memory of Chandler Hamilton, John Reed and Dana Allen. Merry X-mas to their families. MJ, Gorham, ME $40

In loving memory of Rita Greenlaw, John Greenlaw and Beverly Wallace $200

In memory of Grampa and Grammy Hawkes, from Judith and Paul Theriault $25

In memory of Elston and Larry $105

Gaston Lee $30

In memory of our first grandchild, William Byrd Bedford, with love from his Maine grandparents $250

Year to date:  $102,920.40

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