Linda Paul of Scarborough has been volunteering for the Press Herald Toy Fund long enough to forget when the tradition started.

But it’s been more than 25 years.

“I keep wanting to go back,” said Paul.

Paul even made sure to help out last year, when many longtime volunteers decided to play it safe and stay home. With the protection of vaccines, most have returned to their posts this year, adding to the usual excitement at the beginning of each season.

“It’s always nice to go back. It’s like a mini reunion,” Paul said. “It’s lovely people … We laugh a lot and we’re busy, busy.”

With so many longtime volunteers, and the guidance of longtime director Kathleen Meade, the operation runs “like a well-oiled machine,” she said.


“We all have our jobs and we know what to do,” said Paul. “The toys the director selects are just fabulous. Every year, it’s a pleasure to pack them up and get them to the families.”

This week, the volunteers have been loading up gifts for nonprofit groups that deliver them to families who are farther afield or don’t have transportation. Soon, parents who can get to the warehouse on their own will start flowing in to pick up gifts packaged for their children.

The volunteers will check and double check the packages to make sure each family gets the right mix of gifts. It’s an exciting time when volunteers finally get to hand off the gifts to relieved parents.

“Everybody’s so thankful,” Paul said.

She wouldn’t miss it. “I love the place.”

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


In memory of Alice & Bill Amero $40
Anonymous $500
Gift from Richard Kessler & Pamela Cox $250
In memory of Robert Pettengill $50
In loving memory of Jack Marsh. Merry Christmas! From Anne, William & Joe $100
In memory of Marie Brien, who loved Christmas and all children. From Kathie & Warren Giering $50
Kathryn & Joe Pierce $50
Arlo Aeppli $100
Bruce & Joan Kidman $200
Charles & Diane Drapeau $100
In memory of Jimmy Grippo $200
In memory of my twin brother, Geof, from Nancy $100
Anonymous $250
In memory of Sam Flint, from the Hartford Family $100
Anonymous $30
In loving memory of my grandson Will $300
Anonymous $100
In memory of my spouse, former Westbrook Mayor Phil Spiller. From Elaine Spiller $50
Kalia Thorne $100
The Ertman family $100
Jo Radner $50
Thanks Victoria. Good to be reminded. Merry Christmas to all! From Celia & Victor Wakefield $50
In memory of magical childhood Christmases! $100
In memory of loved ones. From Nancy & Doug Bagin $100
Jim & Ellie Schneid $20
In memory of Grammie Annie & Nana Stone, from the Stone family $100
Bill Hamilton $100
Cashmere Kitty $50
Jonathan & Margaret Nareff $25
Anonymous $100
Merry Christmas! Heather, Neil, Ainsley and Lexie $100
In memory of Dan, Betty and Bruce Jenkins $100
Skip & Sue, Merry Christmas! Love U both! $250
For other kids, from Kier and Erik $30
We miss you, Grampie/Dad $200
Anonymous $100
Anonymous $50
Anonymous $100

TOTAL TO DATE:  $92,614

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