She’s just 21 and facing big challenges. But a single mother from the midcoast said she is refusing to lose hope.

The young mother told her story in a letter sent to the Press Herald Toy Fund along with an application to help her 1-year-old daughter.

For much of the past year, the woman and her daughter were living in a motel near where she worked. Her boyfriend helped watch the baby while she went to her job, which qualified her to get on a waiting list for housing assistance so she could get an apartment. They were close to moving out of the motel when the plan fell apart.

“My daughter suffers from a heart murmur that ended up causing a lot of appointments,” she wrote in a letter to the toy fund. “Due to missing work, I ended up losing my job and my place to stay.”

When her daughter was born, she was told the heart murmur was common, she explained. “Usually they are supposed to outgrow them. Hers has not been outgrown. Since she still has it, we’re going to have constant checks.”

The mother and her daughter moved in with her boyfriend and his mother, who has health problems and relies on her son for care. “I’m very thankful,” she said.

Now she hopes to start over. Her plan is to get a part-time job at first. Her boyfriend will help with the baby while also taking care of his mother. Once she has a reliable income again, she can reapply for housing assistance and hopes to eventually qualify for help with child care so she can work full time, she said.

“I have a job interview on Saturday, so hopefully we can get things back on track,” she said this week.

She heard about the toy fund from a relative who also is out of work and struggling. She worries that, without some help, there won’t be any Christmas gifts for her daughter.

“If you guys can help I would greatly appreciate it.”

Donations 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


Merry Christmas from Jim & Kathy Ryan $150
Mark Kingston $280
Richard N. Lord Jr $50
Dick & Andrea Hall $150
In memory of Eric “Andy” Anderson. A great person, a wonderful friend. Ted & Marcia Foss $25
Elizabeth Goldsmith $30
In honor of the wonderful staff at Thornton Oaks $50
In loving memory of Doris Lyons, from Gracie & Dick $100
Richard & Nancy Lemieux $250
Lester & Anita Noyes $50
Karl & Joanne Andersen $25
In memory of my husband, Robert E. Coughlan, from Anne L. Coughlan $25
In memory of Don Hawkes $25
James Foley $100
Ken & Jill Ryan $200
Paul & Stephanie Castle $75
Bruce & Lorraine Hirdler $100
Gift in memory of Stanley F. Sampson Jr. $100
Thank you for making this happen for kids! Jeff & Ann Nelson $100
Gregory & Donna Barmore $150
Candelore Family $125
Thomas Cook II $100
Seth Brewster $100
In loving memory of Larry & Darlene Holston $100
In memory of Paul J. White, from Katherine White $100
In honor of our grandchildren Piper, Scarlett, Dylan, Camdyn, Memphis and Iris, from Grammy & Grampy Floyd $100
Peter Cinelli $50
Merry Christmas from Helen L. Peterson $20
In loving memory of Timothy Durant, from Mom, Dad & sisters $100
Marcia Blake $50
In loving memory of Beulah Green and Alan Goddard. Love Rhonda & Ron Green $100
Robert & Nancy Morris $100
Diane & Carl Walp $100
David & Sandra Michniewicz $100
Thomas & Catherine Masterson $100
In memory of our beloved Preston. Love, Grammie, Grampie, Katie & Aubree $50
Porch & Curry Children $100
In honor of my sons – Jim & Mike Cook $40
Edward, EJ, Ben, Olivia and Lindsay Rogers $1,000
For the special memories – Val $100
Anonymous $50
Edith Wacksman $50
In memory of Richard & Emily Brady $20

TOTAL TO DATE: $66,509

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