The army of volunteers behind the Press Herald Toy Fund has been busy for weeks, unpacking, sorting and repackaging toys and books that fill the South Portland workshop.

On Tuesday, a cheerful group of volunteers took on a task that is a perennial favorite at the workshop and a sign that the annual gift drive has shifted into full distribution mode.

Thousands of gifts have already been handed off to nonprofit partners who will distribute the toys and books to families they serve.

Now, parents who applied directly to the toy fund are coming to the workshop from all over southern and central Maine to pick up gifts for their children.

Sue Taylor, a volunteer for more than a decade, handed a bulging red bag to one grateful mother Tuesday and wished her a happy holiday. “Thank you,” the mother said to Taylor and the other volunteers.

John Voyer, a volunteer for four years, carried another load of gifts to a mother’s car.


Volunteers, like the Toy Fund’s donors, never get to meet the children they serve. This is the closest they get, and meeting the visibly relieved parents is a highlight of the work each year.

“It’s fun. The interaction is nice,” Voyer said.

It’s a ritual that has been repeated each holiday season since 1949 thanks to newspaper readers who donate cash to buy the gifts and the volunteers who provide the muscle to get the toys and books into the hands of grateful parents.

To make a donation online or apply for assistance, go to

Checks made out to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund may be mailed to 295 Gannett Drive, South Portland ME 04106.

Names of donors are published in the Press Herald, the Sun Journal and the Times Record unless a donor wishes to remain anonymous.



(note: some donations include an additional amount to cover transaction fees)

Merry Christmas!  The Sirois Family  $105.52

Erica Bartlett $52.91

In loving memory of my father, Gordon Corkum.  Karen Thompson $105.52

Paul and Katie Dexter $100.00


For my Mom – Anne Murphy. Anonymous $105.52

In memory of Kayla. Marianne Marsh $105.52

Susan Sharon (anonymous) $105.52

Anonymous $263.33

In loving memory of Lisa and Kelly. Merry Christmas! David & Elaine $289.63

Arlene Tanguay $105.52


Happy Holidays!! $52.91

Mary Chris Semrow $105.52

Anonymous $105.52

Sharon Dulac and David Dyer $105.52

Anonymous $263.33

Merry Christmas! Cameron Allen $52.91


Anonymous  $105.52

The Ramsey Family  $210.73

Gladys Cofrin $105.52

Tina Oddleifson $105.52

TOTAL TO DATE:   $55,851.67

Comments are not available on this story.