In two days, thousands of Maine children will share the joy of unwrapping Christmas gifts simply because of the generosity of hundreds of strangers who sent money to the Press Herald Toy Fund.

One of them is a 10-year-old boy living in southern Maine whose world was turned upside down when his home was destroyed in a fire just before the holiday season.

The boy lives with his father and neither of them were home when the fire started in a bedroom and spread through the home. But the family’s dog was killed, and their belongings destroyed. The cause has not been determined.

The Red Cross provided some basic necessities, family members sent money to buy clothes and a friend gave the boy and his father a place to stay temporarily.

But the family was still reeling emotionally last week when the boy’s father talked on the phone about the fire and why he needed help. The loss of the family dog is still “the hardest part of it all” for his son, and for him.

“He’s still pretty rough right now,” he said of his son. “I think it’s just a little bit more than he can comprehend. And me, too. I just don’t know what to do.”


All the Christmas presents he bought for his son were in the bedroom and were destroyed. While he knows gifts won’t erase the pain of losing the dog or replace all they have lost, the father said he couldn’t bear to think of his son not having any gifts to open after everything else that’s happened.

“I’m not worried about me,” he said. “I’m very worried about Christmas.”

His voice broke as he spoke about his son and all of his worries about their future. But the sense of relief was clear in his voice when he was told not to worry about the gifts, that the toy fund would help.

“That’s wonderful,” he said. “Thank you so much.”

The toy fund does not identify the families it serves, and children typically never know about the help provided by those who donate to the 72-year-old charity.

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


The Feeney, Majors and McDonough families $150
In memory of Mom, Dad, Lynne and Paul $200
Happy Holidays! Suzanne & Neil $200
Wesley Lovejoy $300
Jon & Marjorie Oxman $100
In memory of John, Jack, Mark & Bethany Murgita of Rockland. Hugs, Angela $100
From Nancy & John $30
In memory of Gary Eastman from “The Cook Family” $50
In memory of our parents, Sena & Warren Herbert, and Irene & Henry Ducharme $50
In loving memory of Barb $500
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays to you all! Kim $100
Happy Holidays! Dan & Ruthann Baker $100
In memory of Jeremy Whynot Sr., and William A. Jr. $200
In memory of Blanche & Fernald Goulette, from their children $100
In honor of our 21 great-grandchildren, H. & G. Tyler $210
In loving memory of Harold and Theo Moxcey, from Carole, Kim and Stephanie $100
Judy Benoit $100
Barbara Inman $20
Michael & Dona Boissonneault $100
In memory of Bob Dout & Andrew Campbell $100
Merry Christmas & A Happy Healthy 2022! Pauline & Claude Ouimette $50
The Herrigel family $100
Linda Hanscom $75
In memory of Grampa Hawkes, from the Theriaults $25
In honor of my 7 great-grandchildren, Chloe, Brody, Mason, Levi, John, Sam and Lyra $100
In memory of my mother, Dorothy $50
In loving memory of Raymond & Iola Leavitt $50
In loving memory of Leslie & Belinda Gray $50
The J & A Deering family $200
In memory of Judy & Joe Bromley, who loved Christmas toys, from Carl & Rachel B. Akin $40
In memory of our niece, Robin Hurst, from Win & Linda Gillis $50
In memory of L. Philip Bernier $100
In memory of Joan & Richard Brooks $100
In memory of Rita Hall & Paul Faucer $100
Cumberland County Retired Educators Association $75
Merry Christmas! John & Sheila Hewitt $50
Charles Higgins & Abby Huntoon $200
In memory of our brothers Jack & Alan Corcoran, and Dennis Hayes, from the Corcoran/Hayes family $300
In memory of Betty Sue Peaslee, from Kevin & Judy McDonough $100
In memory of Thelma P. Vincent, our mom & grandmom, from her McLaughlin children and grandchildren $75
Walter & Laraine Lach $50
Davis & Jane Hartwell $200
In memory of Shaun & Mike McIntyre $25
Richard & Virginia Culgin $30
In memory of Joseph & Evelyn LeClerc $100
Warmest wishes for the Holidays from Fish and Moth $50
Drumlin Environmental $250
Morrison Properties $500
Stephen & Margaret Smith $100
Sybil & Edward McCarthy $100

TOTAL TO DATE: $179,591.53

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