The volunteers behind the Press Herald Toy Fund get to hear many “thank yous” from the families they help.

Mothers and fathers are filled with relief and gratitude when they come to pick up the toys for their children in the weeks leading up to Christmas. For volunteers, that direct interaction is a reminder of why they do the work and how the simple gift of new toys can provide joy for families going through difficult times.

But you, the readers who donate the money that buys those gifts, don’t get to meet the parents, accept their thanks or see the appreciation on their faces. The fact that you nevertheless give so generously is one of the enduring and essential elements of the 70-year-old charity.

But fortunately, some parents also put their appreciation in writing. So this is for you, dear readers: a note from a father in southern Maine whose family you touched this year.

“To all – A great big thank you for my children’s gifts. You made the difference between no presents and a great Christmas.”

While the gifts have been unwrapped and decorations are coming down, the toy fund is still in need of cash donations from readers to cover its costs and to sustain the charity as it moves into it’s seventh decade helping Maine families.

Donations received during the holiday season are published in the newspaper, and those that have not yet been published will be listed in a future edition of the newspaper and online. Financial support also is accepted year-round and ensures that the fund will have the resources to buy gifts the next year.

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 year round 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.

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