Even in the best of times, families sometimes need help around the holidays.
There are still illnesses, accidents, fires and divorces, and some families are a paycheck away from not having heat or enough food to feed their children.
It’s why the Press Herald Toy Fund has other events that have helped bring some joy to an estimated 200,000 children, in good times and bad, since it began in 1949.
But add a global pandemic that continues to disrupt school and work; rising heating costs; and a shortage of affordable housing, and any of those other hardships can quickly overwhelm a family and threaten the holidays.
The mother of a 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter told one such story in a recent letter to the toy fund, along with a request to help her children after what has been a challenging time.
“This year has been rough for everyone, from stronger waves of COVID to the crazy job market,” she wrote. “But also (my partner) got hit by a car in a bicycle accident, causing him to be out of work for several months.
“We also ended up moving in the summer as our apartment was sold. We are now catching up and finally settling into normal life in our new home.
“Our finances are more strained this year than in the past, and we would really appreciate any assistance making the holidays more special for our kids. Thank you for your consideration.”
Donations from readers of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Sun Journal in Lewiston and The Times Record in Brunswick allow the toy fund to provide gifts to thousands of children in need in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties. To help, go to pressherald.com/toy-fund.
In honor of Charlie McSwigin, from the Harris-Gips Family $200
Merry Christmas to everyone from the 12th C $120
M Wyman $50
Nana and Lissie $40
In memory of my sister, Eileen Garroway $50
In loving memory of Eleanor Goodwin $50
Kathleen & Ken Pierce $250
In memory of our parents, Don & Sheila Esty, from your loving children $100
In memory of Barbara Bolster, who loved Christmas, from Cathy Nodine $50
From the Chabot and Peabody families $500
In memory of GG $100
Happy Holidays! Celia, Owen, Finn, Molly, Easton, Clara, Gavin $200
Michael Hollyday and Susan O’Connor $50
In memory of Marsha I Caufield $50
In memory of Mom, from Elena Schmidt $200
Don & Bev Esson $200
Keeping Christ in Christmas! Have a very Merry Christmas! Steve & Jane Martin $400
Anita Haskell $50
Sam, Nora, and Mae $100
Douglas & Leslie Cooper $250
Karl T $175
In loving memory of Harry & Lois Carlin. #10 of the 12…….