A woman in Portland is thankful that she and her young son are OK after deadly wildfires this fall forced them to leave their home in northern California.

But now they are starting over with virtually nothing, just as the holidays approach.

“My son and I are homeless,” she wrote to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund. “We relocated to Portland because we lost everything in the Santa Rosa, California, wildfires on Oct. 9. We drove 12 days by car to get here. We’ve hit a huge hardship and I need help with making my 4-year-old son’s holidays bright and cheerful. Please help.”

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts is using donations from readers to provide toys to thousands of Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents. Bruce Roberts was the original pen name of the newspaper columnist who co-founded the fund in 1949.

The fund – now in its 68th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties.

Applications can be downloaded at pressheraldtoyfund.org or picked up at the Press Herald’s Welcome Center at 295 Gannett Drive in South Portland. Call 791-6672 to have one mailed to you.

Donations to help buy the toys can be made at pressheraldtoyfund.org or by writing checks to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund and mailing them to the fund at P.O. Box 7310, Portland, ME 04112.

TOY FUND DONATIONS

Happy Holidays to all! Derek Berg $250

In memory of David Edward and David Richard Farnham $25

In memory of Tom and Brett Cooper $25

Anonymous $20

Merry Christmas! $40

United Way of Greater Portland Staff $115

Happy Holidays from Celia, Owen, Finn, Molly, Easton and Clara $100

In memory of our daughter, Lerin. Robert and Maryanne Foley $100

The Groban-Fischman Family $100

Anonymous $100

Conroy Family $50

In loving memory of Louis Atripaldi from Frances Atripaldi $50

Merry Christmas! Charlie & Cathy Toppi $50

Anonymous $50

From Bill Carr, in loving memory of Rebecca Fox Carr and Howard Fox. $50

In memory of Phil and Henty LaRou $200

Merry Christmas! Betty Bailey $50

Katie O $100

Anonymous $20

Peace & Love to all! $75

Anonymous $20

In memory of Lucy, who loved Christmas as much as the kids! Nancy & Tim $50

Anonymous $50

Love Trumps Hate $30

In memory of Alexander J Frustaci, The Gagnon family $100

Bill & Deb Mulvey $100

Anonymous $50

Total year to date: $54,629

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