The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund is facing unprecedented challenges as more Maine families struggle to make ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic and need help bringing their children a sense of normalcy during the upcoming holidays.
The toy fund is making an early appeal for financial support and forming new partnerships with other nonprofit organizations and two additional newspapers to meet that need. The economic pressures of the pandemic come after the charity spent much of its reserve fund in recent years as donations gradually declined and need remained high, according to organizers.
Last year, the toy fund raised about $120,000 and provided gifts for 3,200 children in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Lincoln and Knox counties. Director Kathleen Meade is anticipating the number of applications could rise 15 percent or more this year as families deal with job losses or decreases in income because of the pandemic.