Gail and Craig Kinney of Cumberland didn’t know what to expect when they volunteered to help the Press Herald Toy Fund.

They donated money in the past, but had never seen how reader donations get turned into bags of gifts for thousands of Maine children. The couple recently retired and moved back to Maine from Houston and, with plenty of experience volunteering for good causes, offered to lend a hand.

“I just wanted to see how the operation works,” Gail Kinney said. “And it’s been great. We hope to come back next year.”

The Kinneys are among a group of newly retired volunteers who joined the team this year and brought new energy and skills to the annual campaign, Toy Fund Director Kathleen Meade said. The rookies work beside other volunteers who have been coming back for decades.

Meade typically has about 100 volunteers each year who unpack, sort and repack truckloads of toys, all selected for boys and girls of different ages.

“I was really amazed at her selection of toys,” Gail Kinney said.

And then the Kinneys got to help hand out the toys to some of the parents who come to the Toy Fund warehouse visibly relieved and happy that their children will share the joy of a holiday with gifts to unwrap despite hardships facing their families.

“That was my Christmas really,” Gail Kinney said. “Just to see their faces.”

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 provides toys to 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:

JOCIJIANA – 70th consecutive  year!  $500
Merry Christmas & Happy Chanukah to the children!  $100
In loving memory of Uncle Bob – The Miller Family  $75
Happy Birthday to Tina, from Dave & Charlie  $30
In loving memory of Lloyd E Jones, from his family  $100
Lawrence & Karan Miller  $100
Cassie, Haylee, and Jamison  $100
In memory of Sebastian Houseman  $100
Fran  $70
Cynthia Hughes  $25
James & Elizabeth Maier  $100
Cynthia & Harry Eddy  $60
Brian Albano  $30
In memory of Babe & Podge  $100
In loving memory of George and Lee  $1000
In the memory of Wm C Mitton  $250
Chris Heavey  $250
In loving memory of our parents and wonderful dogs  $50
In memory of Dan and Josephine DiMatteo  $200
Merry Christmas everyone!! Judy & Tom  $150
Derrell & Sylvia Clarke  $35
Maryann Young  $50
In memory of Barbara Schirmer  $25
Paul Collins  $100
Lowell Pease  $25
In loving memory of Stephen,Mary,Jack,&Betty Hines and Eddie&Bessie Harrigan – The family  $25
In loving memory of my husband, James R Thornton, who loved children! Kathleen Thornton $100
From the LaChance children  $100
Jean Campbell $250
In loving memory of our “Munchkin” Carolyn Williams. From John & Sharon Farrell  $100
In honor of Gene & Charlotte McManamy  $25
In memory of Lindy Coughlin, from Mr & Mrs Richard F Coughlin  $50
In memory of my parents who showed me the magic of Christmas  $100
In memory of Paws, from Lexxi & Pennie  $500
Merry Christmas in memory of our mothers.  $200
Mark & Ellen Russell  $100
Merry Xmas – LP  $25
Hoping we can help make the holidays happier, Ann Tracy & John Kreutzberger  $50
In memory of my dad Bob Ellis, from Bud Ellis  $50
In memory of Jim Pearson  $25
Damon C Chandler  $25
Merry Christmas from Pam and John Fridlington  $250
In loving memory of Ron, Maurice, & Vera. From Bo & Tina  $100
In memory of Mom,Dad & Randy Mooers& Judy Mooers-Curran who all loved Christmas  $50
In memory of Buckwheat, Cheetah-Bop ,Zeus, Sammy, Pugsly, Muffin, Murph the Surf, and Crouton  $50
Peace & Joy in the season to all – The Massabesic Ladies Group  $100
In memory of Deb & Brian. Love, Jase, Trav, Lex, and the Pups  $250
In honor of my brother, Stephen…so grateful for all the support and joy you bring. From Betsy Parker  $75
McCormick & Bouchard Eyecare  $150

Year to date:  $96,055.50

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