The family of four was just getting by. The father had chronic pain from arthritis, but he was able to work and rent was getting paid.

Ten months later, the family is on the verge of becoming homeless. And the mother is asking the Press Herald Toy Fund to help their two children.

“(My husband) is always in pain, and he and his doctors have been trying very hard to find a med that works,” she wrote. The medications weaken his immune system, adding to the couple’s worries about the coronavirus.

When her husband missed time from work because of the pain, the family fell behind on rent. Then, she wrote, “with the stress from pain, money and such, my husband had a mental breakdown and had to call a crisis line.”

“We are in the red almost every month, which includes nothing for rent at all,” she wrote. Now, the owners of the house they rent “are threatening to sell the house.”

All of which is having an effect on their two children, ages 5 and 2. And, like many parents turning to the toy fund during this challenging year, she wants them to have something like a normal holiday season.


Her son, she wrote, is “a sweet, sensitive boy who loves to smile. My daughter (is) rough, tough and a busy, busy bee.”

“We have nothing extra to get the kids anything,” she wrote. “First year not being able to get anything.”

• 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 71st 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:


Daryl Morin  $100
Dolores Fecteau  $50
In loving memory of Anita & Edward Ventura & Barbara Pepper from Annie & Dale $25
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous  $100
Connor  $30
Anonymous  $100
Happy all religion holidays, Caroll & Alan Sockloff  $200
Anonymous  $50
Anonymous  $50
Merry Christmas! Pester & Mary N  $50
Jade & Tom Doyle  $50In memory of my brother, the greatest father I know. Lizzie O  $200
Wishing peace & Joy for all!  $100
In memory of Dorcas H Alley, from Evelyn & Michael Horton  $50
Wear a mask & stay safe! William & Barbara Mertoen  $100
In loving memory of our daughter, Adrienne Marie Harris. She so loved Christmas! Rudy & Deborah Harris  $50
In memory of Stanley & Violet Oliver  $50
Dave & Alicia Grinnell  $50
Anonymous  $200
Anonymous  $50
In honor of the Westbrook High School 68 Coffee Crowd – Sandy  $50
Katherine Crossen and Lynn Bailets  $150
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous  $100
With love,Bonnie & Dennis Tallagnon  $20
Hoping this helps put a smile on a child’s face   $100Happy Holidays! Deb Henry  $100
Anonymous  $50
David & Dianne  $50
Robin LaPlace & Jamie Lewis  $500
Kara & Jeremy Law and family  $150
Love your beaches and the Plovers. Greetings from Vermont! Susan Lybeck  $200
Have a Merry Christmas! Astrid Shannon  $20
Happy holidays & love to all – Steve & Gail Cohen  $20
Greater Portland Alpha Omicron Pi Alumnae  $50
Anita Haskell  $30
Sharon Spickler  $10
Frank & Nancy Fowles  $50
Anonymous  $25
Anonymous  $100
During these stressful times, please have a Merry Christmas! Dave & Elaine  $200
Sushi 2 $50
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous  $50
Anonymous  $100
Help kids stay healthy, from Carol & Art Dresser  $100
Anonymous  $100
In memory of Robert P and Carolyn B Snyder  $100
Merry Christmas! Tom and Cathy $40

Year-to-date total: $22,940

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