The South Portland Holiday Toy Drive is underway. Courtesy photo

This year will mark the 11th annual Holiday Toy Drive in South Portland. Toys are being collected for children in need. There are drop-off locations throughout the city. The drive is being run by Laurel LaBauve and April Cohen. The drive is in partnership with the South Portland police, fire, and school departments, South Portland Community Center, and Evie’s Watering Hole.

“There is a huge amount of need out there and this is a great way to make a difference right here in our community,” said LaBauve. “People can ‘adopt’ a child/children. We ask them to purchase a winter coat, boots, and a few toys from their wish list. Alternatively, they can donate to our GoFundMe account or Venmo. Or, they can also purchase a toy and drop it at one of our boxes around town.”

There are almost 300 children in need on the list, and as of Nov. 29, two/thirds of them had been adopted.

“The toy drive is truly a community-wide effort,” LaBauve said. “It always involved the schools, police department, and fire department. This year we’ve also had parks and rec and the Housing Authority jump in to adopt kids. The Stanwood Park neighborhood is adopting a family along with the SoPoMe Facebook group. And lots of local businesses have contacted us to adopt kids. There are so many wonderful people in this community that want to make kids happy.”

The South Portland Holiday Toy Drive is community focused. “All the gifts stay in South Portland,” said Cohen. “Many people think we are aligned with a national organization — which are wonderful in their own right — but we specifically work with the schools to help the kids in need in our community.”

Liz Darling at Maine Roofing began the drive, and eventually looked to pass the torch. The toy drive almost did not return, until LaBauve and Cohen stepped in. “When April and I found out the toy drive wasn’t going to continue this year, we both knew we couldn’t let that happen,” said LaBauve. “So we decided to team up with the South Portland schools to keep the tradition going.”


The drive is very important and means a lot to the children. “I was one of those kids who got adopted when I was little,” said Cohen. “My mom was unemployed and on welfare. I had no idea the gifts I received — including boots and a blue jacket that both my mother and I remember — weren’t from Santa. This community was very generous, and I just want to give back and help kids have holidays like I did.”

Toy drop-off locations are as follows:

April Cohen Team — 382A Cottage Road, South Portland

South Portland Police Department — 30 Anthoine St., South Portland

South Portland Cash Corner Fire Station — 360 Main St., South Portland

South Portland Community Center — 21 Nelson Road, South Portland


Bath Savings Bank — 225 Ocean St., South Portland

Snap Fitness—747 Broadway, South Portland

Evie’s Watering Hole — 121 Sawyer St., South Portland

Checks are payable to South Portland Holiday Toy Drive and mailed to The April Cohen Team. A GoFundMe account is accessible at

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