It takes a small army of volunteers to unpack, sort and distribute toys thousands of toys and books for needy children, all in a matter of weeks.

And it takes some generous local businesses to keep that army well fed.

“These are great volunteers and everyone is willing to work hard,” said Janet Edmunson, a Press Herald Toy Fund volunteer from South Portland.

So Edmondson and several other volunteers – Gretchen Stanton, Mary Peters and Linda Paul – have been gathering food donations the keep the workshop humming. “We’re kind of the food team right now,” Edmunson said.

The team members simply knock on doors and ask for donations. And once they explain it’s for the Toy Fund volunteers, the answer is always yes.

“I was surprised. Everyone I’ve talked to was willing to do something,” Edmunson said.


Sometimes, volunteers don’t even have to ask. Early in the season, one of the team went to Mr. Bagel on Forest Ave. in Portland to buy some bagels for the crew. “They asked what it was for and when they found out, they gave it to us for free,” she said.

Other generous businesses feeding hard-working volunteers this year include Pat’s Pizza in Scarborough, Mr. Bagel in the Mall Plaza in South Portland, Amato’s in South Portland and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches in South Portland.

Perhaps no businesses has been as generous for as long as Anthony’s Italian Kitchen in Portland. Owner Tony Barrasso and his family have been faithful supporters for many years.

In fact, when the team made its initial request for pizzas this year, the folks at Anthony’s were a bit disappointed.

“They said, ‘No, we want to do more,’ ” Edmunson said. “They want to do something once a week.”

The Toy Fund relies on donations from readers, as well as the well-fed volunteers, to provide toys and books to thousands of children who otherwise might go without because of hardships facing their families.


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)

Luca Villalobos-Koch      $52.91


Anonymous       $105.52

Anonymous       $105.52

Happy Holidays Nancy and Doug Bagin   $105.52

May the joy of Christmas last all year long.          Missy and Jay Hall       $158.12

Merry Christmas!            Brock and Denise Kwiatkowsky   $200

Anonymous       $105.52


Sean Mahony & Marc Paradis     $315.93

Merry Christmas!            Tom and Sue      $105.52

Jack and Bev Walker       $100

Merry Christmas to all! Deb Henry         $52.91

In loving memory of Roman Maxsimic- Kathy, Kara and Tessa               Kathy Maxsimic $105.52

Remembering Marjorie Humeniuk, The spirit of Christmas lives on.        Claire and Marlena         $105.52


Stan Allain          $421.14

In memory of my parents, who gave my brother and me many good memories of Christmas                    $105.52

Every kid should be able to look forward to Christmas.                  $52.91

In memory of Phil, Connie, June and Heather – David and Carol Boston  David Boston     $200

From Nana and Pappy in memory of Granddaughters Emily and Lany      Sharon Benoit   $50

Elizabeth Streeter           $50


Deemer Laddie  $100

Elizabeth Baldwin           $100

Newell Augur     $150

Susan Taylor      $50

Thomas McGonagle       $100

To help some children smile Christmas morning                $200


To all the boys and girls love Anne and Bob          Robert Hall Jr              $100

I hope this helps Santa make your wish come true            Judith White   $100

Thank you for all that you do to help children.  Merry Christmas to all.  In loving memory of Mina & Joe     Julie Tselikis       $50

Thank you for all you do for Maine kids! In honor of Blanche and Fernald Goulette from their children             Elizabeth Goulette             $50

In memory of Lois, Joe, Ella and Walter   Ronald Joyce      $250

Judith Qua         $100


Merry Christmas             $100

Benjamin Soule               $50

Anonymous       $25

In memory of Chelsea Thompson            Bonnie Craig      $100

Jack Clements   $200

In memory of Dr. Dick and Pat MacDonald           Barbara McDonald          $300


James Mills        $200

Roger Morin      $100

Ed and Jo Bradley           Edward Bradley   $100

Sonia Hale          $100

PB Renshaw       $75

In memory of Amanda Cohen     Carson Lutes      $100


Anonymous       $100

Lucille Hutchinson          $100

In memory of Penny Chapman Turner     Deborah Sprague              $75

In honor of the children that have lost a lot         Alex Vise              $50

Thomas and Holly McKenny        $1,000

Lorna Dorsey     $50


Valerie Vaughan              $25

In memory of Ken Cleaves and Lane Fraser both of whom loved Christmas           Ethel Carmolli    $50

Drumlin Environmental LLC         $200

Merry Christmas             Eugene and Jeanne King     $100

In memory of Maurice, Vera and Ron: Bo and Tina              Stephen and Christina Miller       $100

With cash from the kids’ banks      The Dunn family           $103

TOTAL TO DATE: $128,954.44

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