Tuesday was a good day for thousands of Maine children.

Many readers of the Portland Press Herald chose Tuesday to open their checkbooks or donate online and help bring a little joy to children whose families are going through tough times. Their generosity will help ensure that more than 4,000 Maine kids have gifts to unwrap and share the joy of a holiday tradition that most families take for granted.

Some of the readers’ donations are listed below. More will be published in the coming days.

Toy Fund Director Kathleen Meade said she saw a big uptick in donations online Tuesday, and she expects a similar increase in checks that arrive in the mail later this week. “It’s been quite steady since 9 o’clock,” Meade said Tuesday afternoon.

Chalk it up to #GivingTuesday, the social media-driven effort to encourage generosity on the heels of the biggest shopping days of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The focus on charitable giving is a reminder for many people to make their year-end donations, and an inspiration to others to share their good fortune with others who need help.

That’s a good thing, considering the Press Herald Toy Fund is also receiving a steady flow of requests for help from desperate parents. It’s going to take more big giving days in the comings weeks to keep up with the need, Meade said.

Of course, not all of the donors who supported the fund this week were inspired by their social media feeds.

Consider Jeanette Sferes of Falmouth.

Sferes, who grew up in Portland and is now 86 years old, jokes that while there are plenty of things she doesn’t love about herself – she thinks she talks to much, for example – she has never needed much prompting about giving. To be honest, she worries that she might give too much to too many charities.

And, she said, the toy fund will soon receive it’s annual gift. Her checks, typically $200 or $300 a year, began arriving in the 1950s, only a few years after the 70-year-old charity was created.

“I was probably in my 20s (when I started giving),” she said. “I went to school with the daughter of the man who started it and that’s how I made the connection.”

That’s literally old school social networking.

• 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 70th year, 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 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, call 791-6672 or go to: pressheraldtoyfund.org.

TODAY’S DONATIONS

Ted & Doris Cook  $100
Anonymous  $10
Merry Hanukkah & Happy Christmas to all! From Alice Adams & Liz Winfield  $30
In memory of Hedy who found great joy in wrapping gifts for the Bruce Roberts Fund  $100
Rachel & Steve Hendrickson  $100
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous  $50
Have a wonderful Merry Christmas from Frederick & Evelyn Libby Jr.  $100
Anonymous $100
In loving memory of Bill and Connie Murphy and Bob Carleton  $50
Anonymous  $50
Merry Christmas to all the children! Sam & Marge DiBiase  $50
Greg & Debbie Tait  $50
Anonymous  $50
In memory of our beloved son and brother. Love, Mom, Dad and sisters.  $100
The Groban-Fischman family  $100
All kids should have a happy Christmas. From Bonnie & Russell Clukey  $30
Margaret Cekuta  $50
Jellison Wall family  $50
Anonymous  $50
Merry Christmas from Dave & Elaine Larsen and family!  $100
Frank & Nancy Fowles  $50
Karl & Barbara Albrecht  $150
Inger Riley  $50
George & Deanna Hunter  $100
In honor of our clients  $200
Anonymous  $50
Benjamin Stephens  $50
Anonymous  $100
In memory of Marilyn Legassey & Janice Muehle from Jennifer Heald  $20

Year to date: $38,666.50


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