While donations from newspaper readers have sustained the Press Herald Toy Fund for 72 years, the work of volunteers behind the scenes is just as vital.

“The toy fund has depended upon volunteers since 1949, and that has not changed,” director Kathleen Meade said. “Volunteers are essential, contributing hundreds of hours each week to accomplish the goal of bringing joy to families. They believe in the mission of the program and work tirelessly to that end.”

Meade said volunteers, most of whom are also donors, worked for a second year under tight safety protocols because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some faithful volunteers again were forced to support the fund from a safe distance because of the risks.

The members of the toy volunteer team this year were: Jody Abbott, Carl Akin, Oula Alshaar, Janice Bancroft, Donnie Bancroft, Ann Blake, Nancy Blanchard, Kathy Camire, Joe Carlin, Sharon Dennison, Therese Drapeau, Janet Edmundson, Barbara Judge, Samar Khuder, Gail Kinney, Craig Kinney, Theresa LaBreque, Janet Leaver, Larry Libby, Sebastian Meade, Mari Miya, Sheila Moran, Chris Newell, Christine Newell, Linda Paul, Mary Peters, Rick Peters, Amy Pettit, Julie Pew, Zoe Sahloul, Marylou Schuster, Wayne Smith, Ada Spinney, Gretchen Stanton, Marilyn Urbano, Joan Voyer, John Voyer and Vicki Whitehead.

Volunteers also are quietly supported each year by local businesses that send food or provide other services because they also support the mission, Meade said. “It is very physical work so the support of community backers … is very much appreciated.”

Community supporters this year included: Derosier’s Freeport Pizza in Freeport, Anthony’s Italian Kitchen in Portland, Subway on St. John Street in Portland, Jody Abbott, CVS in Freeport, Hancock Lumber in Yarmouth and Berenson Freeport Associates.

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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.

Donations are still arriving (they are accepted year-round) and the newspapers will continue to publish the names of donors in the coming days.

LATEST DONATIONS:

In memory of my Aunt Frances T Dooley, who was always so kind to her nephews. $250
Eddie’s $544.96
Anonymous $500
Mark & Lisa Nelson $100 (+ matching!)
In memory of Turners 5 & Diane – Gorham $40
LT’s INC $50
Paul Cullinan & Margaret Burby $50
Mark & Ellen Russell $100
Brushstrokes with Impact Paint-A-Thon Maria, Castellano-Usery $285
Treekeepers – Johnson’s Aboriculture $250
Katherine & William Tucker $100
In memory of Dr. & Mrs. R.A. MacDonald, from the Smith family $25
Walter P Stinson $500
In honor of Maxine Hartford – Nana, who loves Christmas and children  $150
In memory of Deidre Reid Nelson $100
In memory of Helen and Alice Robinson $50
In memory of Bill Crowell Jr $50
Mark MacLeod $100
In lieu of Christmas cemetery arrangements. $150
Anonymous $100
Always glad to help. With love, Izzy, Eva, Atlas, & Abel $200
Jeff & Theresa $250
Happy Holidays! Jane & Fred Bopp $100
Anonymous $150

TOTAL TO DATE: $204,704.49


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