The Odlin family: Liam, Maria, Amelia and Rob. Courtesy of the Odlin family

The Press Herald Toy Fund has many friends, but few more faithful and generous than the Odlin family of Scarborough.

The Odlins are a classic, hardworking Maine family with a strong sense of community.

Rob is a commercial fisherman, like three of his brothers and like his father was before them. Maria is the business manager for the family fishing business, and also works full time as an insurance agent.

The couple make an annual donation from their business that lists the names of Rob’s fishing boats: the F/V Maria & Dorothy and F/V Miss Amelia. The $200 check arrived this year in memory of Patrick Jackson, a family friend and fellow fisherman who died in November.

Now the Odlins’ two young children are both sharing the tradition.

Amelia, who is now 9 and in fourth grade, began donating when she started school. Her annual $25 gift arrives in honor of her bus driver, first Mike Lavallee and now Susan Murphy.

And this year, 6-year-old Liam sent his own $25 donation in honor of his bus driver, Mr. Dan.

Like many who support the fund today, the Odlin family tradition has crossed generations. It began when Maria was a girl and her mother sent donations to the toy fund on behalf of the family.

As a girl, she remembers, “I always looked forward to reading those articles (about the families being helped) and looking at the names of the people who donated and wondering when our names would be there.”

Now, Amelia and Liam are always excited to see their names listed in the paper with the other donors.

While Maine’s groundfishing industry has seen its share of hard times in the past couple of decades, the Odlin family feels fortunate to be able to help others, Maria Odlin said. Rob has diversified his business beyond groundfish, and his boats now also haul squid, scallops and lobster. “It’s just about continually diversifying,” Maria said.

“We ‘re very fortunate to have our home and a roof over our heads and food on the table,” she said. “If you can earn, save, spend, invest and give, that’s important. We try to live our lives that way.”


The Merrill family  $25
In memory of Jane Bridges Langley Warren – The Warren family  $50
Sean & Lindsay Ryan  $1,000
In memory of Uncle Dan. Love, Tyler, Rachael, Emilie and Abbie  $20
Anonymous  $100
Marjorie Hodges  $50
In loving memory of Susan Cote  $20
In memory of JPH and JAH  $20
Carol & Charles Rohn  $100
Merry Christmas! Dianne & Gregg Goodrich  $50
Regan & Russell  $100
Bishop Properties  $100
Rosie Hartzler  $25
In memory of Herbert H. Fricke  $100
From CHUD, who loved children  $50
In loving memory of George Grise $25
In memory of the Reed, Conant & McAloney families  $50
Herb & Donna  $20
In loving memory of my wonderful mother, Della Fogg, & our special son Mitchell – The Kesslers  $100
The Porch & Curry grandchildren  $100
Mert & Prudy  $100
Merry Christmas! From Carl & Rachel Akin  $30
In memory of Joe Bromley  $30
Seth Brewster  $100
David Manyan  $70
Merry Christmas! Lorraine Sarno  $10
In loving memory of my beloved husband, Paul, & my stepson Paul, from Carol Carey  $50
In loving memory of Aggie  $75
Ken & Jill Ryan  $100
Irene  $100
Eirin & Christina  $50
In loving memory of Tom, Mom D., Gram & Papa  $200
In memory of Normand Lemaire, from Mary Lou, Melanie and Brian  $50
Anonymous  $100
Dan & Ruthann Baker  $50
Brushstrokes by Maria  $182
In memory of Cindy Krauss from her Knitting Nannies  $250
Michael & Dona Boissonneault  $100
In honor of Charlie McSwigin  $150
Merry Christmas1 Anonymous  $20
Bow Street Market Bottle Drive  $400
In memory of Bill Murphy  $30
Southern Maine Labor Council  $300
In memory of my husband, Paul Sferes, by his wife  $300
Jeannine Plourde  $100
Anonymous  $100
Kelly & David Smith  $250
In memory of Gramma D. – the Leepers  $100
Sean P. Conroy, Boston, Massachusetts  $150
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous   $50
Shelley’s Freeport Yoga Donation Flow Class, total $165, including Donna S. $20, Sarah M. $20, Richard H. $20 & Corrinne Z. $20
Year to date:  $79,405.50

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