Getting a book into the hands of every child continues to be an important mission of the Press Herald Toy Fund.

And donors and volunteers would have it no other way.

Patricia Washburn knows how much a book can mean to a child. She dedicated her Toy Fund donation to her mom, Jo Washburn, “who wanted kids to have books.”

“My mother was a librarian,” she said. “I had a library card when I was 6 weeks old.”

Now Patricia Washburn, who was a teenager when her mother died, is carrying on the legacy.

“Any time I have a chance to give books to kids, I do it,” she said. “Books are the greatest.”


Erin Murphy agrees.

She runs a literary agency based in Windham that represents more than 200 children’s book authors and illustrators all over the world.  She’s also a newspaper reader and decided she could help spread the joy of reading by giving her clients’ books to the Toy Fund to distribute.

”We get copies of all the books. We just went through our shelves,” she said. Her agency donated 100 books in all, and they quickly were distributed to families who need help during the holidays.

“Turning children onto reading makes such a positive difference in their lives,” Murphy said. “It’s important.”

Most of the books distributed by the Toy Fund are purchased at discounts from local suppliers, including Islandport Press in Yarmouth and Sherman’s Maine Coast Bookshop in Portland.

Toy Fund volunteers, who include many retired teachers, are always happy to make expert book selections.


And, of course, the whole enterprise relies on the generosity of newspaper readers who donate money. With their support, more than 3,000 Maine kids are receiving a new book that could, in the words of Erin Murphy, make “a positive difference in their lives.”

To make a donation online, 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)


In memory of my mom, who wanted kids to have books, Patricia J. Washburn 105.52

In loving memory of Keith Warren. From Curtis $10

For kids who are less fortunate. From Futch and Adum $50

Michael Curci $100

In memory of Nick Pappas. Alexia Pappas and Philip Coupe $300

Lori and William Cook $150


Linda and David Power $25

In memory of Laurence S. Allen Sr. Beverly, Missy, Larry, Donna and Lonnie Allen $40

In memory of Mom and Pop Perry. Beverly and Lonnie Allen $40

In memory of Mrs. Sally Simpson. Beverly and Lonnie Allen $20

Peter and Beth Rovnak $100

In memory of Nana and Grampy. Julie Carmichael $100


In memory of Betsy. Julie Carmichael $50

In memory of Bill and Raven. Sandra Smith $100

In memory of my son Nick. Phyllis Coelho $200

Linda Freedman $100

In memory of Deborah Paine – a true spirit of Christmas. Jean Koster $50

Alonzo Osgood $200


Thank you so much for doing this year after year! Laura Dismore $60

Anonymous $100

In memory of our parents, Ehtel and Witold Koceiko. Tom and Marianne Koceiko $25

In memory of our parents, Domenico and Anna Floridino and Anthony and Philis Peverada Sr., love Tony and Angie Peverada $100

Anonymous $50

Kimberly and James Kingsley $25


Wayne Burbank $100

In loving memory of Harold and Theo Moxcey. Carole, Kim and Stephanie $100

Mary Megeaski $250

In memory of Grampa Hawkes. Judy Theriault $50

In loving memory of Fedora Nicol. Louise Griffin $50

TOTAL TO DATE: $157,984.92

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