There’s something comforting and reassuring about watching the same holiday movies every year.

You already know the stories, and even much of the dialogue, but they till make you laugh or choke back tears in all the same places.

That’s a little like the notes that faithful donors send each year to the Press Herald Toy Fund. The holiday season wouldn’t be the same without them.

And one of our favorite donation traditions is the gift from JOCIJIANNA, whose $500 check arrived recently with a note that simply said “for 71 consecutive years!”

So, although you may have heard it before, here is the story behind this Maine holiday tradition.

It begins on the West End of Portland in 1949.

Josiah H. Drummond and Anne (Strahan) Drummond were a young married couple preparing Christmas for their growing family, which would eventually include five children.

It was a difficult winter for many other families in Portland. The economy was in recession, families lost incomes and many turned to welfare programs for food and heat.

So, that December, two friends, one a Portland city official and the other a newspaper editor, began a new charity to raise money and make sure children did not go without Christmas presents because their parents had no money to pay for them.

Josiah and Anne Drummond made a donation to the fund that first year. That gift became an annual tradition, and the couple gave every year for the rest of their lives. And when they died, their children kept the annual donation going.

The name JOCIJIANNA is made up of the first two letters of the names of all five children: Josiah Jr., Cindy, Jimmy, Andrew and Nancy.

Each year, the surviving Drummond children have kept the tradition alive, both to honor their parents and for the same reason their parents gave 71 years ago: Help is needed and they are fortunate enough to be able to share.

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 71st year, the fund helps 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
Thank you!!! Ronnie Small $200
Friends of Bow St. Market  $200
Anonymous $500
In memory of Jacob M. Brown  $100
Merry Christmas! Dan & Lindley Pesco  $100
You are loved, from Craig and Deborah Stirling $50
Merry Christmas from Rufus $50
Brayden and Owen Bishop $100
In honor of Jack Morris  $100
Emily $25
Merry Christmas in memory of Bop, the Stowell family  $200
Merry Christmas! Jim & Margo $50
Joan & Amory Houghton $100
Merry Christmas! From John McCormick $250
For the kids, from Jeff, Leah, Chloe and Miller Young  $50
Merry Christmas to all the children! Karen & Gerry $50
Michelle Ritz and Bill Chen $150
Laurie Minott $60
Hoping to brighten some children’s holiday season, from Stella, Addie, Georgia and Sophie $250
For Sarah & Lydia, from Faye Cochrane $30
Moxie & Tilley $50
Whitney & Maria Drake $500
In memory of Phil & Henty LaRou  $200
In memory of our site and mom who gave us the best Christmas ever. From Dorothy Walker $100
In honor of my father who introduced all of us to the great state of Maine, from Andrew, Jordan & Mason Layman $50
Anonymous $30
In loving memory of Helen  & Vernon Gibson, and Janice Regan, who all made Christmas so special! $50
In memory of Grammy Cora and Grampy Penn, from Lynne Pennell Atkinson $100
Thank you teachers! Lise Wagner $50
In memory of Estelle Snell $50
In honor of our kind and generous grandsons, Wyatt and Reuben. From Larry and Susan Bruce $100
In honor of Ronald and Austin McIntyre $100
Peace, love, and happiness to all! From Jen & Russ $50
May you have a very Merry Christmas! The Thibodeau Family $200
In honor of Matt and Evelyn Barron, by Ed & Shirley McGeachey $50
Owens McCullough $25
The Clancy family $100
Donation made at the request of our daughter, Lynne Davis Mckeown, since all children deserve a toy at Christmas $100
Merry Christmas! From Lib, Allison & Emily Rand $200
In memory of Jane Bridges Langley Warren, from David Warren & Alta Warren $35
Anonymous $500
Stay well, share love. From Dobra Tea $50
In memory of Charlotte Louise Lacrosse $50
Anonymous $500
In memory of my Dad, Philip $50
LL Bean EIM Leadership Team $100
Tim & Liz Hooper $100
Christmas is for children. Merry Christmas & God bless! Dave & Ginny Blouin $100
In honor of Becky and Christie  $100
Merry Christmas and a jelly-of-the-month subscription for all! Clark Griswold  $50
Anonymous $50
Anonymous $100
Anonymous $50

Year-to-date total: $164,757.25


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