A mother from Cumberland County shared an all-too familiar story in a recent letter to the Press Herald Toy Fund.

She is one of many who sought help this year after struggling through the 20 months of the pandemic to keep her family fed and housed, only to have nothing left to provide holiday gifts for three school-aged sons whose lives have also been turned upside down by forces outside their control.

And, while there are safety net programs that provide some help with basic necessities, those don’t exist to provide gifts to children in need of a little joy.

“I am a single mom of three boys,” she wrote. “I have been laid off due to COVID so I am collecting unemployment. But almost every dollar that I have goes to our household bills.

“I am really grateful for this chance to maybe give my boys a few gifts for Christmas this year with help from you and your program. I truly appreciate any help I can get for my boys. May you be blessed.”

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.



In memory of the Graham family: Ellen, Donald & Alden, from Patty Graham $50
In memory of my parents, Ralph Jr. & Janet L. King, from their son $100
Happy & Healthy Holidays! Stella & family! $100
Given in honor of grandchildren, from Peter Haynes $500
In memory of my great uncle, Matthew Barron, co-founder of the Toy Drive, from David Donovan $50
Gordon Slocum $100
Pam & John Fridlington $250
In honor of Victoria Hugo-Vidal, from Joan & Dick Searles $100
Happy Holidays from Charlie $100
Anonymous $50
Ann & Greg $100
In memory of our dear friend, Brenda Joy Fraser. Her spirit will always be dancing in the hearts of those who loved her. MHS ladies Group $160
In memory of Margaret Gardiner, an amazing aunt who enjoyed sharing holiday fun! $200
A blessed Christmas, from John & Corinne Bernat $50
Anonymous $100
In honor of Monique $50
Anonymous $100
In memory of Chris Foley. From Joe, Donna, Pat & Jackie $100
In honor of Sawyer J. Stone $50
In memory of Matthew S. Stone $50
Noel Tracy $100
Anonymous $50
Barbara Stanley $100
Anonymous $1,000
Anonymous $100
Anonymous $50
Warmest holiday wishes! Tom & Judy Sides $300
Don & Christine $250
The Glasbergs $100
Aidan & Reid Sylvester $100
On behalf of Joel Lindy. ADT and CAT $100
Anonymous $50
Merry Christmas to all! $500
Anonymous $30
Ruth & Hank Foundation $200
This is the proceeds from our CE class fundraiser for the Real Estate Learning Group $2134.53
Eloise Knowles $30
In memory of Derek & Eric, from Mom & Dad $50
The Kline family of Cape Elizabeth $200
Margaret Cekuta $30
Patricia Washburn $100
Anonymous $100

TOTAL TO DATE: $160,635.53 **

(** Because of an editing error, this year-to-date total was incorrectly printed with Sunday’s list. It includes donations through Monday.)

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