By Anne O'Connor
AYER -- The police department is on the lookout for toys: The giving season has arrived.
A new, unwrapped toy can make a difference is a local youth's holiday season, Ayer Police Sgt. John MacDonald wrote in an email.
The 17th annual Ayer Police Holiday Toy Drive will collect donations for ages infant to teenagers. Since choosing a present for pre-teens and teens can be difficult, Breads and Fishes has a list of suggestions on its website www.loavesfishespantry.org.
MacDonald encouraged business and civic groups to team up with the police department to work together on the project.
"Over the past 17 years we have built up a network of local businesses and civic groups who join our efforts to ensure this event's yearly success," he wrote. "It's simply amazing to me what this small town can do when we all are working together."
Loaves and Fishes will distribute the gifts to needy families in Ayer, Devens, Shirley, Groton, Harvard and Littleton. They expect to have about the same number of children, 500, as they did last year, McDonald wrote.
The Ayer Police Holiday Toy Drive provided approximately 2,500 packages last year.
Collection boxes will be at North Middlesex Savings Bank, I. C. Federal Credit Union, Ayer Town Hall, Ayer Post Office, Carlins Tavern, Ayer Public Library and the Ayer Police Department.
Families with children who need toys can contact Loaves and Fishes at 978-772-4627 and register for the "Shop For Your Kids Day" program.
For more information contact MacDonald at the police station, 978-772-8200 ext. 570, or visit www.loavesfishespantry.org.
Follow Anne O'Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.