South Portland toy drive courtesy photo/ Laurel LaBauve

SOUTH PORTLAND – The Maine Bikers Association is partnering with the South Portland community for the 12th annual South Portland Holiday Toy Drive, an initiative aimed at bringing joy to local children in need during the holiday season. In a recent interview, Laurel LaBauve, an organizer of the event, shed light on the collaborative effort.

“This is the 12th annual South Portland Holiday Toy Drive,” LaBauve said. “The toy drive embodies an amazing sense of community as individuals, the South Portland school system, police department, fire department, parks & recreation, Community Center, housing authority, and local businesses all come together to help these children.”

“We have been holding our toy run in September for the last 40 years,” said Bill Brown, a representative of the Maine Bikers Association. “This year we will be delivering our toys and bicycles to the South Portland Toy Drive. This organization is filling a major need for the community and has our respect for all the hard work and timeless efforts they have put in every year. Well done South Portland.”

LaBauve highlighted the growth of the program since its inception in 2011, becoming a tradition in the community.

“The schools have currently identified 330 children that need help this year,” LaBauve said. “We have 200 ‘adopted’ but need to find support for the remaining 130 kids. We would love to have more people adopt or donate.”

She outlined three ways to contribute: adopting a child, purchasing and dropping off toys at designated locations, or making a donation via check, Venmo, or GoFundMe.


An upcoming event at Cash Corner Fire Department in South Portland will feature Brown delivering a truckload of toys and bikes from the Maine Bikers Association’s September toy drive. Though not a formal event, local firefighters will be present to assist in unloading the donations, said LaBauve.

South Portland toy drive courtesy photo/ Laurel LaBauve

All toys and contributions will be collected at the South Portland Community Center, where they will be sorted and distributed to children’s parents. The goal is to encourage more community involvement, with an annual holiday party scheduled for Dec. 9 at Willows starting at 6 p.m.

“As a parent of a young adult with Down syndrome, I have always been concerned with inclusion and equity in our schools and across our city,” said Jennifer Christensen, vice president of Everything Bulletin Brands Inc. “Our holiday toy drive is one very meaningful way to foster that, in a way that allows everyone to participate however they are able. Whether you’re a recipient or a volunteer, our community comes together for good and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

April Cohen, a member of the organizing team, shared her personal connection to the cause. “I was adopted by a family in SoPo when I was like 4 or 5,” she said. “I know it was super helpful for my mom as a single parent. It’s a really wonderful feeling to be able to give back as an adult now. I just want every kid to have a great holiday. I got involved a few years ago just to help out how I could here and there and donate a few items. Last year I helped run it with Laurel LaBauve and our friends at the high school. This year we have added another person to help us run it with us, Jennifer Christensen.”

Residents are encouraged to drop off new gifts for kids, tweens, and teens at various locations in South Portland until Dec. 8. “And we want to remind folks that we desperately need to include teens in adoptions and gifts” LaVauve said. “It’s fun to buy toys for small children, but teens want to have a happy holiday as well. Gifts for them can include fun water bottles, art supplies, makeup, games, sports equipment, etc.”

LaBauve also said the bikers didn’t exaggerate, they really did have a truckload of toys.


Bikers deliver toys for toy drive. courtesy photo/ Laurel LaBauve












“I wanted to mention one other thing that makes this year different,” LaBauve said. “As I went through the wish lists and data for the kids this year, I saw a dramatic increase in homeless kids, kids living in cars, and parents that are worried about losing housing in the very near future. There is so much need in this community and it seems to be growing. We’re so thankful we can do something to brighten up the holidays for these kids.”

For more information, contact Laurel LaBauve at or April Cohen at

Drop-off locations include:
• The April Cohen Team, 382A Cottage Road
• Barber Bros., 101 Ocean St.
• Bath Savings Bank, 225 Ocean St.
• Trademark Credit Union, 340 Main St.
• Willows, 740 Broadway
• South Portland Police Department, 30 Anthoine St.
• South Portland Fire Department, Cash Corner, 360 Main St.
• South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road
• Port Harbor Marine, 1 Spring Point Drive
• North 43 Bistro, 1 Spring Point Drive
• Snap Fitness, 747 Broadway
• Ferry Village Market, 323 Broadway
• Jacked & Jilled, 184 Main St.
• South Portland Holiday Tree Lighting, Mill Creek Park, Dec. 1, 4:30-6:30 p.m.


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