The Press Herald Toy Fund is a bit of a pop-up charity.

Each November, it reappears in donated office or industrial space somewhere in Greater Portland. The temporary home fills with toys delivered by the truckload, then bustles with dozens of volunteers who unpack and sort the toys. And, finally, it opens its doors to grateful parents who leave with toys for children who otherwise would miss out on the simple joy of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning.

Some years, the search for a home isn’t an easy one. This year, for example.

“This year it was kind of a begging situation,” said Kathleen Meade, the toy fund’s director. “It’s the market. There’s less vacant space available from Portland all the way to Brunswick.”

The space that housed the toy fund last year now has a paying tenant, so Meade spent the fall searching for new digs. Twice, Meade thought she had a suitable space, but lost both when the landlords got paying tenants.

Last week, more than two weeks after the usual move-in day, Meade finally moved into a space in Freeport that was otherwise vacant for the next month or two and is being donated by WS Development.

However, because the delay threw off the trucking company’s schedule, the toys won’t arrive until this week. And that gives the volunteers only a couple of days to unpack and sort toys before the first gifts will be handed to parents.

Not to worry, Meade says. The fund has been bringing smiles to children for 69 years, and the 70th year will be no different.

“We have such enthusiastic volunteers,” Meade said. “We’ll pull it off.”

TODAY’S DONATIONS

For Debbie & Gary Higgins. Merry Christmas! Miss you! Love Pam & Bob $200
Anonymous  $30
In loving memory of Garrett Brackett. Love always, Mom, Dad, Alyssa, Libby and Regan  $100
Don & Natalie Skelton  $30
In memory of Uncle Angus, who made Christmas so fun!  $250
Merry Christmas from the Wolfs! Rick & Janet Wolf  $50
Carol & Alan Sockloff $125
Alan & Genny Leathers  $100
Year to date: $35,476.50


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