A mother of two from Biddeford says she and her husband always earned enough to pay for essentials and still have money left over for the holidays.

But not this year. “Prices are unbelievable,” she wrote in a letter to the Press Herald Toy Fund.

The couple’s combined income is more than $4,000 a month, she wrote. That’s well above what would officially be considered a poverty-level wage for a family of four in Maine.

But after many months of the highest inflation rates in decades, many families who felt financially secure a year ago are now struggling to pay their bills each month.

Expensive groceries are just the start. More families are now being forced to pay as much as half of their incomes, or more, on rising rents. And heating costs are taking a huge bite out of what’s left. Despite some decreases from record-high prices this fall, energy prices are still far higher than past years and the heating season has just begun.

The result is that more children are facing a holiday without gifts and more parents who never needed help before are swallowing their pride and turning to the toy fund.


“We’re working hard – me and my husband – to fill the most important needs in life to keep them not hungry and warm enough,” she wrote. “But with the holidays coming it is hard to buy (gifts). Anything would help. Thank you”

Press Herald Toy Fund donors are responding this year, as they always have, to make sure her two little girls and thousands of other children get to share in the joy of the holidays no matter what challenges their families face.


From the 19 Lucky R’s $100
Koocher Family $500
In loving memory of Anita & Edward Ventura & Barbara Pepper, from Annie & Dale $25
Judy & Lew Parker $100
In memory of Jezzie $100
In memory of Capt. Joe Robinson $100
Merry Christmas! $250
Happy Holiday! In celebration of my grandchildren! $25
In memory of Kay Loring $200
Mark Kingston $300
Jenifer Stewart $150
In memory of Seth Jordan $200
Merry Christmas! from Jeff & Ann $100
Lawrence Clough $75
John & Nancy Zook $300
Dick & Andrea Hall $150
Robert & Nancy Piccone $30
In loving memory of our parents and wonderful dogs $50
Anonymous $100
Books last a lifetime! $500
Michael & Lynn Wescott $200
In memory of my parents & grandmother $35
Memorial contribution in honor of Josephine Peterson from Vanetta Hayhurst $25
In memory of Red & Dot Swet $100
In loving memory of Betty Lunt, from Toby, Fred, Katie & Aubree $50
In memory of James D. Wallace Sr. and James D. Wallace Jr. $200

YEAR TO DATE: $52,587.49

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