You might know the feeling.

Press Herald Toy Fund Director Kathleen Meade thought her shopping was done and that she had enough gifts for everyone on her list.

But, as the volunteers handed out toys at a rapid clip this week, she got that familiar, sinking feeling about coming up short. Another batch of toys arrives Monday.

It’s not the first time Meade has had to buy more toys to get through a season, and it’s understandable.

Yes, two full truckloads of games, puzzles, craft sets, stuffed animals, electronic and other toys arrived early this month and filled the fund’s temporary warehouse from floor to ceiling.

Meade, however, has a very long gift list. More than 4,000 children are expected to be helped this year, a bit of an increase from last year.

By Friday, the huge piles of toys were nearly gone, replaced with broken down and folded up cardboard boxes ready to be hauled away and recycled.

Meade isn’t especially surprised. She knows from experience that the relatively healthy economy hasn’t eliminated, or even reduced, the need. It has only changed the reasons people are struggling.

When the economy is bad, letters from parents frequently cite layoffs or unemployment. This year, it’s much more common for parents to write about rising rents that leave no money for extras or about escaping a violent home, in many cases sleeping on friends’ couches to protect the children from abuse and danger, Meade said.

That is where the toys come in. Parents who ask for help simply want to give their children a reason to smile and enjoy the holidays, just like others kids.

And because so many Press Herald readers donate to the fund, Meade was able to do some last-minute shopping.

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 provides toys to needy families in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Lincoln and Knox counties.

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, call 791-6672 or go to: pressheraldtoyfund.org.

TODAY’S DONATIONS:

Anonymous $100
In memory of Sean Casey and Woody Bigelow, from the Casey’s $200
In honor of WHS 68 breakfast friends – Sandy $200
In memory of W. Earle Eskilson, who worked on the Toy Fund in the early years $50
In memory of Sally Ann Eskilson $50
In memory of my mother $150
To the memory of EBA $100
From David & Carol Boston in memory of Phil, Connie, June and Heather $100
In memory of Nance “Mimi” McHugh from Jon & Becky McHugh $50
In memory of Bill Crowell $100
In memory of Helen and Alice Robinson $50
In memory of our dear friend Cindy Cosmos – from Paul & Tracey Greenwood $200
In memory of Edmund & Pearl Conley, Norman & Alda Ray. Merry Christmas! David & JoAnne Roy $50
Kenneth Gordon $200
Richard Lord Jr. $50
Tom & Diana Allen $150
In loving memory of Dorothy Legassie & Linda Miller from their family $350
Ann & Walter Allan $100
Carol & Brian Keroack $100
Kristen Damuth $50
Constance Dayton $75
Lauren & Caroline Hester $50
Ho Ho Ho from Wrigley $100
In memory of Aunt Louise from Manda $40
Merry Christmas! $100
Anonymous $100
In memory of my sister Donna & my Dad, who loved the joy of Christmas, from Jeanne Kerrigan $40
Year to date $73,408.50

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