A note from a mother in southern Maine captures the essence of the Press Herald Toy Fund, which is helping families in need for its 69th straight holiday season.

“I am a full-time working mother of five. Due to many circumstances, including my fiance losing his job and now going to school full time to get a better job, we find ourselves fast approaching this holiday season with nothing. Our prospects for years to come are looking better every day. However, here and now we have nothing.”

“I have reached out to multiple agencies and organizations for help with no results. … So I have turned my attention to bettering next year and providing as much support as possible for my children in this trying time. I am reaching out for help once more not for me but for my children as we struggle through the holiday.

“I can’t take the sting of disappointment as the children go without. I know that even if we do go without, my children will still embrace the holidays for the time spent together. But I want to show them there is still magic left to Christmas, and they are good children who deserve to feel the appreciation for another year of exceptional behavior despite exceptional difficulty.

“Thank you.”

The letter arrived with a formal application for help, one of thousands flowing into the fund with stories of struggle and hardship and humble requests to help brighten the holidays for deserving children.

And the writer of this note will soon be handed five packages of gifts purchased with donations from newspaper readers who support the fund.

THE PRESS HERALD TOY FUND in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts uses 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. Now in its 69th year, the fund is accepting applications for toys from needy families in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Lincoln 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 or 791-6600 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.

• FOR MORE INFORMATION, go to: pressheraldtoyfund.org.

• SEE MORE STORIES about the fund at pressherald.com/press-herald-toy-fund/.

TODAY’S DONATIONS

In memory of Jon and Matt $25

In loving memory of Janice Regan, who always loved Christmas $50

In memory of Helen Quirk $100

Jo Radner $50

The Groban/ Fischman $100

Deborah and Kurt Marston $100

In loving memory of Karl and Georgia Sutherland, Worth and Muriel Howard, and James Sutherland $100

In memory of Whitfield Steele $50

In memory of Harvey Banks, who loved Christmas, from Laurie Banks $50

Anonymous $100

Have a joyous Christmas! $50

Mary Gelfand & Mark Gallup $50

Hedy’s favorite charity $50

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! Alice Adams & Liz Winfield $50

Bill & Marilyn $30

Anonymous $50

Happy holidays from Celia, Molly, Owen, Easton, Finn and Clara $200

Anonymous $50

Thank you for this opportunity to spread a little holiday cheer. Joe & Kathryn Pierce $50

Anonymous $25

Gram’s girls $40

In loving memory of our parents and friends – Earl & Stasia Goodwin $50

Thankful for Jonah and Ellie $100

Lorraine Pregenzer $150

In memory of Nicholas & Gilda Lewis, from the Lewises $50

Joan & Arthur Cope $25

In loving memory of our parents, Edward & Anita Ventura, and Barbara Pepper…Annie & Dale $20

In remembrance of my parents, Whitney & Isabelle Caldwell, who loved children and Christmas. Judith Caldweld Manion $100

In memory of Henry & Jeanette Gagnon – The Gagnon family $100

Thomas & Constance Smith $25

In memory of Mom & Dad Foss $125

Total for year: $24,341


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