The volunteers at the Press Herald Toy Fund are scrambling this week. And they couldn’t be happier.

“Today was nonstop,” Barbara Judge said after a busy shift Monday.

Parents lined up and waited in their cars as volunteers hustled in and out of the warehouse with toys for their children. The line was long, but both the parents and the volunteers were filled with relief and gratitude.

“They left with a smile,” Judge said. “It was really good to see something like this go so well, in year that hasn’t gone so well for a lot of people.”

The hard work, and those smiles, are why volunteers like Judge keep coming back.

Judge lives in Portland and is one of several retired teachers who volunteer. She taught for 42 years at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland.

She first volunteered six year ago after her son, Patrick, died from a sudden illness.

Patrick, who was 28 at the time, was getting a doctorate in behavioral science and working with children with autism. He had a passion for helping both children and their families.

“I lost my son and Christmas was his thing and I needed to do something where I could give back and he could smile and look down and say, ‘This is good, mom.’ ”

The toy fund has helped her, Judge said, because she knows she is helping children and their families.

“There’s never a time that I’ve left and haven’t felt like … I’m making a difference.”

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 serves 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:

In memory of Thelma ‘Grammie’ Vincent, who always made Christmas for all in her family $50
In loving memory of my husband, Paul Sferes $500
In memory of Jim Donahue $50
Anonymous $50
Roland & Carlene Gagne $200
Merry Christmas to Ella, Sara, and Kate, from Nana Jean $100
For a very good cause $100
In honor of my grandkids, Max, Ella, Theo, Lilah, and Penny, from Gramma $100
In loving memory of those who have died from COVID 19. May they rest in peace. $100
In memory of Connie M Harrison, from Frank $50
In loving memory of Matthew, who loved animals and Christmas! We miss you so. Nana B $25
Elizabeth Grobe $50
In memory of Russell, Barbara, and Andrea Huntley, from Joleen, Leslie,Vickie, and Tim $100
In memory of Dick, Cora, and Charlotte Moreshead, from Doug and Glenis $100
Anonymous $50
In memory of Mary $50
Edwin Heisler $150
In memory of my three German shepherds – Szarik, Missy, and Abby $25
In loving memory of my husband and his brother – Jack & Jimmy Fox $50
Anonymous $100
In memory of Katherine $25
In thanks to God for my many blessings $65
In honor of Alan H Hawkins, who loved Christmas, from Margaret, Emily Hawkins, and Katie Hawkins-Vail $100
Merry Christmas to all families and kids $100
Beatrice Farrington $10
Judy Powell $30
Patricia & Oliver Andrews $50
In memory of Joe Guertin, who loved toys $50
In memory of Bill and Max $100
Margaret Balassone $150
Merry Christmas! Thank you for what you are doing! $100
David Carew $20
Ronald & Barbara Boes $200
Beverly Wood $75
Alison and Anton Lahnston $50
Richard & Stephanie Danahy $100
In memory of Guy Rowe, forever in our hearts. Love, Lisa, Lindy, Miranda, and Carley $50
In honor of my six dear grandchildren $60
William & Julie Schirmer $50
Craig Linscott $200
Elaine & Dennis Malloch $50
In memory of Mary Quinn Kelley $200
In memory of Nana and Grampy Brown $100
Margaret Hartley $100
Jane Baldwin $100
From Roger & Kathleen $100
Anonymous $250
In memory of Juli & Paul Jr, from Jeanne Beliveau $50
In memory of Tommie C, Dad C, and Mom & Dad O $25
In memory of George $100
James & Linda Thompson $35
In memory of my sister, Barbara Raymond, from Haroline $25
In loving memory of Jerry MacVane $50
In memory of Shaun & Mike McIntyre $25

Year-to-date total: $209,936.25

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