Barbara Faietta loved children, and she loved Christmas.

And she was the kind of person who thought about how she could help others who weren’t as fortunate. So it was natural that she became one of the loyal longtime volunteers at the Press Herald Toy Fund.

“She always enjoyed helping the toy fund. She really loved it,’ said her daughter Jeanine Eastman.

Faietta also loved Portland. She grew up at the foot of Munjoy Hill in the 1930s and ’40s, one of six children of Irish immigrants. She graduated from Portland High School in 1950, the  year after Portland’s daily newspaper helped launch a new charity to make sure needy children throughout the city had gifts to unwrap at Christmas.

In 1953, she married Dominic Faietta, a Portland firefighter and the son of Italian immigrants, who also grew up on the hill. They would move to Windham and raise four children.

Faietta had a long career as a nurse and worked for many years at 75 State Street, a home for seniors where she would eventually also become a resident.

Among her volunteer activities helping children and families, Faietta became a regular at the toy fund, sorting, packing and handing out gifts to parents. Her favorite part was meeting the parents and seeing the relief of knowing their children would not miss out on the simple joy of holiday gifts. She took on less physical tasks over the years, but she kept helping.

Faietta died in 2018 at the age of 85. She is remembered each year through donations made in her memory.

A $500 check recently arrived at the toy fund with this note: “In loving memory of Barbara Faietta, dedicated Portland Press Herald Toy Fund volunteer who loved Christmas and children. With love and admiration, XO Peyton.”

Peyton is Faietta’s 2-year-old great-granddaughter, who will no doubt hear many stories about her great grandmother’s holiday feasts and how she loved children and loved Christmas.

Donations from readers of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, 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:

Richard & Alice Spencer $150
From Pop $40
Carlton & Joan Leach $200
The Roofa $100
In memory of George Grise, who loved little children $25
Gift from Nancy & Jerry Angier $100
L.M. $100
In memory of our departed loved ones $100
To honor our grandchildren & great grandchildren – Angela, Matthew, Andrea, Josh, Jeremy, Jameson, Andre, Lucy & Quin. From Roger & Janice Merrow $100
In memory of my sister, Barbara Raymond $20
Anonymous $100
In memory of Peter S. Roberge $100
In loving memory of Whitney and Isabelle Caldwell, from their family $200
Beverly C. Hastings $25
In memory of Matty Barron $100
Michael & Christine Curci $100
Anonymous $100
Michael D’Arcangelo $30
Charlene Wax $250
In memory of my mom, Ruth Hamm, who donated every year. Keeping her legacy going. Love, Mary Turner $150
Carroll & Pauline Goodwin – Alfred, ME. $100
To help all children have a Merry Christmas! $1,000
From David & Carol Boston in memory of Phil, Connie, Jane and Heather $200
Cheryl Desmond $50
Merry Christmas! From #3 of the 12C’s $120
Betts FitzGerald $250
Happy Holidays! Mike Ranen $50
Silvia & Laura Savic $50
Anonymous $200
Eric Bartlett $30
Anonymous $50
In memory of David & Helen Getchell $100
In memory of John & June Bowman $100
In memory of our parents, from Kathy & Joe $100
Anonymous $300
Simmons Investment Advisors $250
Katie, Aiden and Jakey $50
In memory of Lori Fletcher $50
Christmas is for children! From Secret Santa $50
Anonymous $300

TOTAL TO DATE: $84,004

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