Loaves and Fishes collecting toys for Shop for Your Kids Day; donations so far are slow

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By Jon Bishop

jbishop@nashobapub.com

DEVENS — Judy Grande, a volunteer with the Devens-based Loaves and Fishes food pantry, is preparing for the annual Shop for Your Kids Day.

“It’s the ultimate feel good event, because you’re giving something right to the kids,” she said. “I love doing it.”

The toy drive currently underway dates back some 15 years, and provides toys for Loaves and Fishes clients.

“It’s really important, because some of these kids wouldn’t get gifts if they didn’t come to our event,” she said.

According to Grande, L&F is looking for brand new toys, new books and “particularly for gifts for teenage boys.”

Donations can be a bit skewed: they’ll get a lot of items for younger children but not many for older children and teenagers.

L&F does take gift cards, but Grande encouraged donors to avoid ones for iTunes, because many of their clients likely can’t afford Apple products, she said.

They’re also not taking stuffed animals and clothes. They will welcome Kohl’s gift cards, though.

Toys can be dropped off at the pantry and at the Bob Eisengrein Community Center, formerly known as the Devens Community Center, located at Rogers Field.

The Shop for Your Kids Day will take place on Dec. 18. Toys should be received by Dec. 15, she said.

They’re also seeking volunteers, particularly in the evening and on the day of the event.

“A lot of our volunteers are just there for the morning,” she said.

Grande said they plan to give out toys to more than 500 young people. Though donations have been slow, L&F expects to meet the target by next week.

“We still need stuff,” she said.

Loaves and Fishes serves Littleton, Devens, Harvard, Groton, Shirley and Ayer. It is located at 234 Barnum Road in Devens.

For information, visit the Loaves and Fishes website: http://www.loavesfishespantry.org/.