Readers who donate to the Press Herald Toy Fund are inspired by many things.

Today, for example, is #GivingTuesday, an annual reminder that this is a season of giving, and there is no better time to give to a local charity than while in recovery from all the shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

The Press Herald Toy Fund, and the thousands of children who will receive gifts in the coming weeks, are big beneficiaries of the social-media-inspired generosity that overflows on this day each year. It’s become an important element of the fundraising that sustains the 72-year-old charity, which uses the donations to buy holiday gifts for children who might otherwise go without.

Many donors are inspired by their parents or their children. For some, it’s happy memories of holidays past and a desire to make sure other children will have a happy memory in spite of difficult circumstances or traumatic events in their lives.

For Paul and Kathy Anderson of Pemaquid, the inspiration was a newspaper column.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is the author of the popular “Maine Millennial” column in the Maine Sunday Telegram and a year ago wrote a poignant column about her own Christmas memories that urged readers to support the toy fund. It inspired a bundle of donations, including a $10,000 gift from a couple who wished to remain anonymous.

That couple was the Andersons, and they recently sent another $10,000 check to the fund. They have become enthusiastic supporters of the toy fund since learning about it last year, and they credit Hugo-Vidal’s personal column for the initial inspiration.

“(Hugo-Vidal) just kind of opens up and you can’t help but get to know her,” Paul Anderson said. “And like her,” added Kathy Anderson.

The couple said they typically don’t attach their names to donations, so they gave anonymously last year. But they decided they would make an exception for the toy fund this year and allowed their names to be published in hopes they might become someone else’s inspiration.

“Maybe some of our friends will see it and donate,” Paul Anderson said.

Generous donations of all sizes from readers of the Portland Press Herald, the Sun Journal in Lewiston and The Times Record in Brunswick allow the toy fund to provide gifts to thousands of children in need in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties. To help, go to pressherald.com/toy-fund.

TODAY’S DONATIONS:

Barbara & William Merton $100
Anonymous $20
From Deb and Brian for their grandson Cooper. Deb, Bri, Jase, Trav, Lex, Danielle
and Cooper Brian Kroot. $250
Anonymous $100
Anonymous $50
Anonymous $100
Anonymous $100
Anonymous $150
Anonymous $50
In loving memory of Helen & Vernon Gibson and their daughter Janice $50
Tina Manning $30
In memory of Bruce Coggeshall, from Jadine Crane $50
Anonymous $100
In memory of my Aunt Barbara, one of Santa’s helpers. From Carol $50
Erica Bartlett $30
In memory of Joan E. Kincaid, from Eric Herlan $100
Amy Wallace $50
Anonymous $100
The Castoldi Family $250
In memory of Harlan, Shirley, Billy, Dana, AP, and Jay. From Linda and Dan $50
Neal D. Perry $20
A brighter world begins with each of us – help. $75
In honor of my dad. From #5 0f the 12C’s $120
In memory of Eric Anderson, conductor of Tuba Christmas in Freeport $100
Anonymous $50
Casco Bay Adventures $50
In loving memory of Alice Davis. From Debbie & Mick $50
In memory of Mike Woodhead $50
In loving memory of my dad, Ronnie the Barber in South Portland. Missing you deeply, Sandee & Joe $75
Lucretia S. $100
Anonymous $100
Jim & Sue Hodge $100
In honor of our dad, Dick Layman, who gave us the wonderful opportunity to enjoy all Maine has to offer. Love you Dad. The Layman Brothers $50
The Ramsey Family $200
In memory of my mother, Diana Candage, who donated to this fund to ensure all children received presents, from Pamela C. Ames. $40
Randy Kiefer $100
In memory of Tim Crilley, from Cindy Beckwith Fallone $100
Mary Gelfand and Mark Gallup $50
Bill Jose & Jane Mullen $150
Frank and Nancy Fowles $100
In memory of Sidney Leonard, from Brian J. Leonard $100

TOTAL TO DATE: $55,159

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