LEE — The Laliberte Toy Fund could reach — even surpass — its goal of $7,000, as the holiday fundraiser is beyond the halfway point of its target amount.

With about three weeks before Christmas, organizers of the 62-year-old charitable campaign say the goal is in sight.

“We are much further along than last year at this time, so, we are optimistic that we will reach our goal this year. Some recent years, we have fallen short,” Donna Toomey told The Eagle.

The toy fund benefits dozens of children 17 years old and younger from needy families in Lee, Lenox Dale and Tyringham.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, gift cards, instead of toys, will be distributed Dec. 6 to the children of less-fortunate families, especially those economically hard hit by the pandemic.

“We are hearing some sad stories of families [with] parents who have lost their jobs and are struggling to keep up with rent and bills and putting food on table,” Toomey noted.

While Toomey is Lee’s treasurer and collector, the toy fund is run privately and not associated with the town government. Selectwoman Patricia Carlino and former Town Clerk Sue Scarpa joined Toomey in 2013 to revive the fundraiser, after it fell dormant for one year in 2012.

The fund was founded in 1958 by a former police officer, Edward J. Laliberte, and was named for him after his death in the 1980s.

Checks should be made payable and mailed to The Edward Laliberte Toy Fund, P.O. Box 559, Lee, MA 01238.

Today’s gifts

Philip & Kathleen Smith $50

Karen Richards $50

Scott & Eileen Rockefeller $25

Carlson Auto Body $100

In lieu of cards

Pete & Chris $25

Merry Christmas to all of our friends, from Kathy & Dennis $200

In memory of

Loved Ones, from Art & Ann Mack $25

In loving memory of Oma, Opa and Peepaw $50

Franklyn & Maritta Withers, from Glen & Sally $50

Francis & Rena McCusker, from Glen & Sally $50

Stephen & Kay DiSimone, Donald Williams, David Belanger, and Katy Curtin Murphy, from Pat, Sue and Larry $50

Jack & Jennie Seelig, Molly & Jackie, Frank Clark, Love, Jennie, Joe, Ellie & Buddy Clark $50

Paul “Fid” Haywood, from the Haywood family $100

In loving memory of Richard Brighenti, Love from your family $25

Leprevost & Seff families $500

Our loved ones, from Peter & Andrea Baker $50

Today’s total: $1,400

Total to date: $3,540

To reach goal: $3,460

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com.