Kathleen Meade flipped through a pile of checks Tuesday as if looking through Christmas cards from old friends.

Many bear the familiar names of people who have sent checks for decades. There are also plenty of new names.

“We definitely have more donors this year,” Meade said. “Which is great.”

Meade, executive director of the Press Herald Toy Fund, doesn’t know exactly why more people seem to be sending checks or donating online.

It may be that newspaper readers are aware that applications for help have increased this year, and they want to make sure all those struggling families are served. Or maybe more families have benefited from the growing economy, and now want to provide some joy to children whose families were left behind. Or it may just be that donors want to be part of a community that has sustained the simple charity for 70 years.

The checks in the daily mail often come with notes of thanks and encouragement. Some are very large, such as the $1,000 gifts from folks such as Sean and Lindsay Ryan and Marjorie Twombly.

And many are much smaller, such as the $10 sent by an anonymous donor and the $15 received from the Cornerstone Chapter OES Past Matrons Association. Eventually, the annual penny drives and donation cans that are filling with spare change will be counted up and sent to the fund.

All of the gifts, and all of the donors, new and old, are very much appreciated, according to Meade. Nothing is too small, and it’s never too late to help, she said. “We need them all.”

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.

In loving memory of our parents Burton & Faith Bailey, who happily & generously
gave to the ToyFund from their daughters Suzanne, Sandra & Sheryl & families $100
Happy happy birthday! In honor of Kerry Norton $50
Merry Christmas! $50
Anonymous $100
Steve & Laurie Kazilionis $100
Merry Christmas from Lakin & Olivia $100
Anonymous $100
Gretchen & O. Ray Stanton $500
May Christmas bring you joy! Karen Lougee & Gerry Campbell $50
Anonymous $50
In appreciation of our electrician Jim Lamb. From Rhonda Gioia $100
In memory of my sister Mary & parents William & Mildred, from Fred Davis $100
In honor of Susan Penna Bernier & in memory of L. Philip Bernier $250
In memory of William Byrd Bedford whose life is forever honored in the hearts
of those who love him. $250
Daniel & Sherry Hutchins $250
For the children $100
In memory of Elston & Larry $100
The Anderson family $40
In memory of Bob & Elayne Page $20
Gaston Lee $50
In memory of Warren & Sena Herbert and Henry & Irene Ducharme from Judy & Gerry $50
From the employees of Nextera Energy Resources, Yarmouth, ME $400
In memory of Freeman & Dorothy Linscott $200
Cumberland County Retired Educators Association $75
In memory of Rick $25
Edward & Catherine Peterson $100
Wesley Lovejoy $250
Thomas Hickey $50
Year to date $89,680.50

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