The Press Herald Toy Fund, and the thousands of children it serves each year, have been helped by many creative fundraising efforts over the years.

Raffles, penny drives, office party collections, even a charity cornhole tournament, just to name a few.

Two of the more creative examples are happening Saturday, and public participation is encouraged.

This was the 2017 painting raffled off for the toy fund. Maria Castellano-Usery

First, Maria Castellano-Usery will begin her fourth annual toy fund paint-a-thon at 9 a.m. inside the Tontine Mall in Brunswick, near Indrani’s.

The Brunswick-based artist will set up her easel, break out her acrylics and a blank canvas and start painting. She’ll keep painting for eight hours, entertaining shoppers until she ends up with a colorful work of art that she raffles off to raise money for her chosen charity. The raffle tickets are sold throughout the day as she paints.

Then, while Castellano-Usery is painting in Brunswick, yoga teacher Shelley Snodgrass of the Freeport Yoga Co. will hold a charity yoga class with live musical accompaniment from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will be asked to donate the charity, and all skill levels are welcome.

Snodgrass specializes in Slow Flow and Yin styles of yoga. Music will be provided by Lori Harley, who plays the cello in a way that is described as soothing and meditative.

Freeport Yoga Co. is at 81 Bow St. in Freeport.

Both Casetllano-Usery and Snodgrass are longtime supporters of the toy fund who figured out a way to use their talents to help children in need at the holidays.

Snodgrass told the Press Herald in 2016 that she supports the fund because toys, like yoga, soothe the spirit. And children going through difficult times need that kind of healing.

“I just think it’s a great idea to give permission for kids to de-stress and let go of everyday life and encourage imagination and play,” she said.

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 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:


Sally Webb  $25
In memory of Flora & Walter Perkins, from Lawrence Perkins  $100
Carlton & Joan Leach  $150
Lynn McCabe and Theresa McCabe  $50
Anonymous  $50
Nancy Greska  $100
In memory of Bob, Janet & Carol, from Anne & Bob Hall  $50
Merry Christmas! Phil & Diane  $100
In memory of Brad Woolf, from Sarah Woolf-Wade $75
Richard & Nancy Lemieux  $200
In memory of Barbara Bolster, who loved Christmas. From Catherine Nodine $40
In memory of my brother Peter Moore from Rosemont, Jack  $100
Betty & Moe  $100
Virginia, Linda and Forrest Bryan  $150
Lantern Lane Santa  $100
Anonymous  $50
The Morrill family  $100
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous  $100
Merry Christmas! Stan & Elizabeth Rintz  $30
In honor of our granddaughter, Piper, Nana & Bumbo  $50
Thom & Judy Meschinelli  $20
Happy Happy Joy Joy  $25
John Reali  $200
Mark Kingston  $240
William Johnson  $500
Anonymous  $300
Merry Christmas!  $100
In memory of Slim & Shorty  $100
John & Abigail Bennett  $100
Carroll & Pauline Goodwin  $100

Year to date: $50,081.50

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