The chain reaction started when orders slowed at a large manufacturing company in southern Maine.

And it would have ended with three young children missing out on a Christmas morning with gifts to unwrap, except that their father asked the Press Herald Toy Fund to help.

“My wife is a stay-at-home mom. My oldest son is 6 and in first grade. My younger son will be starting kindergarten next year and my daughter just turned 1 year old.

“We bought a new home over a year ago with my work offering unlimited overtime. And in the past year, they reduced us down to 40-hour work weeks (because of a) recent slowdown of the work load. With that being said, we have become really tight with bills and are unable to afford much this holiday season.”

It’s not clear if the slowdown is a seasonal problem or something that will last into next year. But his three young children are fortunate that their parents knew where to turn for help to get through the holidays.

“We hope you are able to help us through this hopefully short rough patch that we seem to be going through. We admire your donations and hope you are able to help us. Thank you.”

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 70th year, the fund is accepting applications for toys from needy families in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Lincoln and Knox counties.

DONATIONS to help buy the toys can be made at 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, call 791-6672 or go to:

In memory of Guy at Christmas from the Gautier/Johnson family  $160
In memory of Stanley & Violet Oliver & Ethel Blair  $35
In loving memory of Emmons and Joan Johnson from Phyllis, John and family  $200
In loving memory of Jane E. Quirk and Quirkie  $150
In memory of Ronald S. Leeman  $25
Merry Christmas! With thanks from Gam & Bump  $50
In memory of Chas Towle, Jr.  $500
Anonymous  $150
In memory of Henry & Jeanette Gagnon  $100
Ian & Florence White  $75
In memory of James & Lutie Barr  $300
Scott and Alise Koocher  $1000
For a special Mom & Dad, Val  $100
Treekeepers, Johnson’s Aboriculture  $250
From F/V Maria & Dorothy and F/V Miss Amelia in memory of Patrick Jackson  $200
In fond memory of Ben and Mary Lyons, and Jim Lynch, from the Lyons/Lynch families  $300
Anonymous  $200
Merry Christmas! Diane & Dennis Ford  $30
In memory of her parents, Ed & Ruby Lothrop, and his parents, Joe & Gladys Labbe from Dick & Barbara Labbe  $30
Donald & Roxanne Jones  $50
In loving memory of our Grandfather, James D. Wallace Jr., a faithful Toy Fund donor. Love Jake & Sydney, Your loving family. $50
Donald E Starr & Serena Wakelin-Starr  $250
In loving memory of my family – Claire, Larry, and Bob  $50
Anonymous  $250
Merry Christmas! Don & Lynn Johnson  $100
In memory of Steven  $100
Cynthia & Joseph Wyman  $100
Jane Danielson  $100
Andrew Stickney  $500
Marsh Agency  $250
Year to date: $63,423.50

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