The Press Herald Toy Fund has always been more about the joy than the toy.

A simple toy, or two or three, can brighten the life of a child going through a dark time. Imagine a child experiencing a family breakup or illness, the death of a loved one or homelessness without a reason to smile at the holidays. It’s why donors continue to send money year after year to make sure thousands of Maine children don’t get left out each holiday season.

What if the gift can bring a lifetime of joy?

That was the idea behind the Toy Fund’s decision to make sure each child it serves this year also receives a book. And the Toy Fund is hearing from many donors who are especially eager to support the effort.

“A book for every kid – Yes!” That was the note attached to a $1,000 donation from Barbara Gauditz.

“How can you lose when you give a child a toy and a book, too?” Gauditz said when asked about her donation. Books have brought her a lifetime of joy, she said.


“I love them more than anything. I learned to read before I could walk, practically,” she said. “You can’t do anything better than give a child a book.”

Martha McBride couldn’t agree more. It’s the reason she and her husband, Hollis, sent their generous donation this year.

“I read a lot,” she said. “It started back in grade school and I read so much that I would get a book as a prize each year. You’d get a book at the end of the school year if you read the most books.”

Books have brought her joy ever since, something she thought about a lot when a recent health problem prevented her from reading for several months. “It was hard.” And now that she’s reading again, she said, “it’s a miracle.”

McBride says she hopes the books given to children this year can spark the same love of reading. “All children should have books.”

While the people behind the Toy Fund thought they were doing something original this year by adding books, a look back into the records later revealed that books were among the very first gifts provided by the Toy Fund when it launched in 1949. It’s not clear how often books were included with toys over the years, although it had been at least a few decades since it was a common practice.


The Toy Fund’s addition of books also is having spinoff benefits.

The books were ordered from Scholastic, a publisher and distributor of children’s books, through Stevens Brook Elementary School in Bridgton.

By placing the order for the Toy Fund, the school is earning credit from Scholastic that it can use to buy books and other supplies for its students. And some of that credit is being used to provide a new book to every pre-kindergarten and kindergarten student at the school.


In memory of Dr. Ellsworth C. Reed $300
Merry Christmas! Piper $100
Anonymous $100
Ilaria $30
Barbara Seaver $50
Merry Christmas Leslie. From Richard $100
From Millie & Gillie $100
Caroline Anne $100
Carol & Jack Flynn $100
Thanks to the Toy Fund Staff & volunteers for bringing joy to children, from Alan & Genny Leathers $250
Anonymous $30
In loving memory of Laurie K. Small $50
Thank you for a successful 2022 – Robert Libby EA $100
To honor our Forecaster friends –- Beth & Bob Libby $50
The Schnapp/Almay family $100
Anonymous $100
Anonymous $1,000
Mick & Connie Beck $200
Anonymous $100
Merry Christmas! We hope this helps makes someone’s Christmas morning incredibly special! Dylan Clason & Lindsey Nelson $300
Merry Christmas! John & Pam Fridlington $300
Merry Christmas from “the Falalas”! $400
Merry Christmas! Ben & Jenny $30
In loving memory of my mom, Joanne, and my dad, Ronnie the Barber. Sandee $100
From the tenants at 156-58 Danforth St., Portland $300
Anonymous $100
Parking Angel $20
Robin McLaughlin 50
Anonymous $120
Serena M. Powell $50
In memory of our parents, Joe & Lois Page, who made every Christmas special, Peggy Page $100
Anonymous $200
David A. Dyer $100
Peter & Allison $150
In memory of Gram & Gramp Hurst & Uncle Dan, from Tyler, Rachael, Emilie & Abbie $40
Christmas cheer for the children! G&M $50
Anonymous $25
Merry Christmas! Charlie & Cathy Toppi $50
In memory of our parents, from Kathy & Joe $100
In memory of Chris Foley, from Joe, Donna, Patrick and Jackie $100
Steve & Carol $100
In loving memory of our friend, Alvin Temm. From Paul & Sharon Dwyre $75
Merry Christmas! The Jamieson family $300
Happy Holidays! Stella $100
Susan Ross $50
Tim & family $432
In memory of our parents, Edward & Kathleen Blouin, and Harlan & Irene Wallace. From Dave & Ginny Blouin $100
Carol & Brian Keroack $150
George & Joanna Schaab $50
Anonymous $50
In memory of Matthew Robinson, from the family $100
For Margaret, who loved Christmas. From Jack & Kate $100
Anonymous $100
For a merrier Christmas, from Gjack’s Popo and PaPa $30
In memory of Roy & Dolly Edgecomb $100
Sam $250
Anonymous $100
Kimberly Caron $30
Peter Haynes $250
In memory of our son, Jonathan Michael Sawyer. Peter and Joy $500
Anonymous $200
Anonymous $50
Carol Potter $100
In memory of Christmas with Mimi. Leslie McKenny $100
In memory of Barbara Bolster, who loved Christmas. $30
Merry Christmas to all! $100
Art & Carol $100
Merry Christmas! The Giles family $100
Merry Christmas! The Lyons $50
Al Temm $30
Catherine Crute $25
Merry Christmas! Steven & Sandra Capriola $50
In memory of my dad – George Mannette $250
Merry Christmas! David Wiggan $100
Anonymous $7
Christopher Jenkins & Julia Nord $100
In memory of John & Noreen Hubner $25
Family – Merry Christmas! $200
Anonymous $50
Merry Christmas to the kids! Judy & Jeff Kane $500
In memory of Rosie $50
In memory of Hedy, who loved to wrap for Bruce $50
Merry Christmas to all! Ellen & Jeff Worthing $100
In memory of Whit Steele $100
Anonymous $200
Jack & Bev Walker $200
In honor of the Bonnybrier Road Girls – Cindy Fallona $100
In memory of Al Temm from Tracey Scala $25
In memory of Al Temm From Don & Bev Hanson $50
Whitney & Maria Drake $200
Neal D. Perry $15
Anonymous $200
In loving memory of Jimmy Grippo $250
Anonymous $100
In loving memory of Joan E. Kincaid, from Eric and the kids! – Eric Herlan $100
Anonymous $100

TOTAL TO DATE: $95,066.49

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.