Mary Lou Shuster remembers wanting to be a toy fund volunteer when she grew up. Gillian Graham/Staff Writer

When Mary Lou Shuster was a kid, she’d eagerly read through the daily lists of toy fund donors printed in the newspaper.

And she would always root for the charity to raise enough money so other children would have a joyful holiday, too.

“I was always waiting to see if they’d meet their goal,” she said. “I always said I’d volunteer there when I was older.”

Before retiring from her job as an elementary school teacher in the Bonny Eagle school district, Shuster signed up to volunteer with the Press Herald Toy Fund. Six years later, she still enjoys every shift she spends sorting and packaging toys for children across southern and midcoast Maine.

Shuster is among the 50 volunteers who step up each year to keep the fund going. A number of the longtime volunteers are former teachers, which doesn’t surprise Shuster one bit.

“Teachers care so much about kids and you don’t stop that,” she said.


Shuster, who lives in South Portland, thinks about the children as she packages the toys, wondering what they’ll think about each one.

Shuster is also passionate about literacy and is happy that this year each child will receive a new book from the toy fund along with the toys.


In memory of John & Germaine Dorazio from their children. $250
Anonymous $30
In memory of the Christmas loving couple Gretchen Reiche Terhune & Richard P Terhune. From the extended famiglia Terhune $100
In memory of Josephine Peterson, from Mary Walton & family $50
In memory of Julia, Mary, Wallace, and Bill. From Mary Gelfand and Mark Gallup $60
Merry Christmas to the children! Bob & Peggy Crowley $100
In honor of all who help make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year! Max $25
In memory of Dan, Betty, and Bruce Jenkins $100
Merry Christmas – John & June McClean $200
Let there be Joy & Peace in the coming year! $30
Merry Yuletide! Don & Anne Staples $30
Anonymous $40
Anonymous $50
In memory of my parents, from Debbie Henry $50
Anonymous $250
Merry Christmas!!!!! Ed & Nancy $50
Love you, miss you. John & Lois $100
Kathleen & Kenneth Pierce $250
Keith & Barbara Sawyer $100
Leo Hallen $100
In memory of all our furry friends! Merry Christmas! $50
Joan & Bob Nigro $100
Patrick J Thomas $50
Merry Christmas! Kevin, Maggie, and Fox $100
Because Christmas is for kids! $17.50
In loving memory of my parents Arthur & Nancy Gilbert and my Christmas angel Adrienne Harris $50
In memory of David, Aunty, and Grammy. From Patti $30

YEAR TO DATE: $38,724.10

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