Christmas was a happy time in the Askin household.

“Mom and dad were always very much into the decorations,” said Stephen Askin, a retired veterinarian in Kennebunk. “Christmas music would be playing in the background.”

His parents, Joan and Ronald Askin, also kept the holiday going longer than most, Stephen remembers. “They always kept the tree up until Jan. 7.”

Joan Askin was especially enthusiastic, including shopping for the gifts they gave the couple’s four children. She was happiest when cooking a large meal for a house full of family, but especially at the holidays. “Christmas was her absolute favorite,” her son said.

The couple, who lived for a time in York Beach, had been married for 62 years when Joan Askin died in 2019. Ronald Askin died in 2020. One of their children, Keith Askin, died in September of this year.

When Stephen Askin wanted to honor the memory of his parents and brother, he decided to do it in a way that would bring holiday happiness to more children.


A lot more children.

Askin recently sent a $10,000 check to the Press Herald Toy Fund in their memory. His dedication appears in the list published below.

All the donations, big and not so big, pay for toys and books for children who otherwise face a holiday season with few or no gifts to unwrap. The generosity of readers will bring light and joy to thousands of children going through dark times.

Askin’s donation alone pushes the charity significantly closer to its goal of raising $200,000 or more by the end of the year.

“I’ve been following the program for years now and always wanted to contribute,” he said. “I read about it ever time I get the newspaper at this time of year.”

Askin said he hopes his gift will inspire others who follow the Toy Fund’s progress. “That’s what worked with me.”


He also hopes his gift helps ensure that every Maine child grows up with happy memories of the holidays.

“I know the money is going to a good use,” he said. “The kids really need it.”

To make a donation online or apply for assistance, go to

Checks made out to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund may be mailed to 295 Gannett Drive, South Portland ME 04106.

Names of donors are published in the Press Herald, the Sun Journal and the Times Record unless a donor wishes to remain anonymous.



(note: some donations include an additional amount to cover transaction fees)

In memory of Andrea Casner Stephens and John Edwin Casner. Nancy Babcock  $50

Thanks to all the hard working elves! Merry Christmas! Dianne and Greg Goodrich  $100

The Micoleau Family, Judith Micoleau $100

In loving memory of my wonderful mother, Della Fogg, and my sweet son Mitchell Kessler. Richard and Carlene Kessler $100

Geneva Padham  $100


David Manyan $200

In loving memory of Darlene and Larry Holston. Merry Christmas and thank you for all you do. Deborah and Allen Cairns $100

Mary Collins $50

Stephen and Dayle Moreau $100

Christmas was my Mom’s favorite holiday! In memory of Mom, Dad and Keith. Steve $10,000

Daniel and Susan Baynes $50


Carlton and Joan Leach $200

Pamela Ferland $100

Lucy Giobbi $50

Kenneth and Kathlyn Moran $100

Anita and John Colpitts $52.91

In loving memory of daughter, Jennifer Henry. Phyllis and Donald Chaffee $150


Susan Kane $100

In loving memory of Ron B.  Love Mary Brown $100

Oliver and Patricia Andrews $50

In honor of great-grandchildren from Maine, New Hampshire, Texas and Tennessee. Arnold and Alcy Ahorrn. $60

Doris Field $50

In Memory of Janice and Steve. Merry Christmas. Robert Chamberlain $50


From Pop. Ronald and Joanne Edwards $30

Anonymous $50

Louise and Robert Coale $50

Leon and Paula Cooper $100

Mary and Eric Pettengill $25

Happy Holidays! Marybeth and John Richardson $200


John and Linda McCormack $100

Janet Skillin $25

Robert and Janet DeVinney $50

Merry Christmas! Helen Peterson $20

The 9th C. Joseph Carlin $120

For “AJ” and Charlotte. Louise Foote $100


Thank you to all who make this program continue. Donna and Gregory Barmore $500

From Dan the retired roofa! Daniel Wilson $100

Toy fund donation given in honor of my sons Jim and Mike Cook. Delphine Palmer $50

For Grampa who loved children and Christmas, from his three boys. Patricia Moore  $100

Andrew Candelore Jr. $150

Martha and Leon Croteau $100


Jean Cash $200

For the children Florence Moreau $100

Charles Poliner and Carrie Peterson $50

In honor of my grandchildren: Brandon, Connor, Samantha and Trevor.  Susan Lindsay $100

Mark Roy $150

Robert Tweedie $150

 TOTAL TO DATE:   $76,054.20

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