It’s part of the magic of the Press Herald Toy Fund.

The thousands of children who receive gifts each holiday season probably will never know that it was the generosity of donors and the hard work of volunteers that brought them joy when times were hard for their families. And that’s as it should be.

There are exceptions to the rule, however. Some children learn one way or another about how the community rallied around them when they otherwise might have been passed over because of hardships well beyond their control.

And those children often grow up to become donors themselves. One recent donation, for example, arrived with a simple note: “A  bunch of Middle Street kids that got Christmas presents in 1960.”

Over the years, faithful donors have sent their checks with notes of thanks and shared their stories about what it meant to be on the receiving end.

Jim Folland, a regular donor, shared his story about growing up on Peaks Island in the ’50s and ’60s, when his family was one of many struggling financially. It was no secret in his family that the toy fund was responsible for holiday gifts when times were especially hard..

“I think (the toy fund) helped a lot of kids on the island back then,” he said.

Jason Stults, another donor, recalled growing up on Portland’s Munjoy Hill in the 1990s, and how his parents needed some help to put presents under the tree.

He said he didn’t remember the specific toys he unwrapped that Christmas morning, only that they meant a lot.

“It’s a good thing you guys do.”

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:


Have a Merry Christmas & stay safe – John & June McClean  $150
Anonymous  $100
Merry Christmas! Heather, Neil, Ainsley, and Lexi  $200
In memory of my Mom, Elfriede Bamford, from Patty  $25
Merry Christmas! Rich, Meghan, Silas, and Calvin Myers  $100
Anonymous  $25
In honor of our grandchildren Meghan, Hailey, and Joe, from Charlie and Diane Drapeau  $100
In memory of my parents William & Mildred Davis, and my sister Mary Bibro-Davis, from Fred Davis  $100
In honor of grandson Cam  $25
In honor of Noah Cole  $25
HoHoHo from Wrigley  $100
In memory of Grammie Annie & Nana  $100
Emerson-Thompson  $50
In memory of Dottie Connor and Louise Peterson  $200
Anonymous  $250
Happy Holidays from Liz, Cilla, and Charlie  $100
In memory of my mother  $100
Merry Christmas and wishing you peace  $20
Anonymous $50
Happy Holidays! The Eckersley-Ray Family  $250
David and Kathleen Moulton  $200
In memory of our parents, Phil & Henty LaRou, who brought so much joy to the season, The kids- Laurie, Cindy, Dick, Dan, and George  $500
Blessed holidays to all. Tom & Judy Sides   $300
Happy Holidays, the Ericsons  $100
Merry Christmas to the Ladies of the Cloth $50
Anonymous  $40
Linus & Rita wish you a very happy holiday and hope you have fun with the toys! $200
Happy Holidays to all! $100
James I Watson  $250
Anonymous  $100
We love sharing Christmas with the children.  $100
N-E Construction  $1000
Anonymous  $100
Hope this helps! $75
In memory of Alexander LeFoll  $200
Happy & Merry! Tom, Stefanie, Kalie, Aerin, and Olivia Manning  $500
Merry Christmas!  $150
In memory of my parents, Henty and Phil LaRou, from Laurie LaRou  $25
In memory of Dick and Dorrice Fuller  $50
In loving memory of our parents, Dot & George Robinson, from Sizanne and Sherry  $100
In memory of Mary & Louis Peters, Beverly & Virgil Plaisted, and Blanche Huntley. From John & Linda Peters  $75
Merry Christmas to the children! George andd Maggie  $50
Anonymous  $40
In memory of Margaret Stemsrud Tubaugh $50
In honor of Lynn Eckersley-Ray  $50
Anonymous $30
In memory of Chris Foley, from Joe, Donna, Patrick, and Jacqueline Young  $100
Donald E Starr & Serena Wakelin-Starr  $250
Anonymous  $100
Vanessa & Nick Marcoux  $250
In loving memory of Claire Weeks, from Erin LaPointe $50
Anonymous  $100
Merry Christmas! Autumn & Emerald  $100
Sanfords  $30
Everyone needs a little hope and Joy! Ben and Deb Morse  $100
Anonymous $50
Anonymous  $20
Ray & Sue Pepin  $100
Bill & Valerie Sowles  $250
Pat & Patti DeFilipp  $100
Dan Sanford  $30
Merry Christmas healthcare working parents! $500
In lieu of gifts this year – Robert L Libby, EA  $100
Merry Christmas!  $100
In memory of our father and grandfather James Wallace, from Mandy Wallace  $100
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous  $40
Anonymous  $40
Alice & Dick Spencer  $100
For Isaiah, Jonah, Charles, and Molie, in memory of Grampa Charles and Grandma Carol  $125
Anonymous  $100
In loving memory of Laurie K Small  $50
In memory of RJF  $50
Anonymous  $1000
Anonymous  $520
Anonymous  $100
Anonymous  $40
Anonymous  $100

Year-to-date total: $135,486.25

Comments are not available on this story.