Loaves & Fishes seeks help giving toys to needy kids

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Picture this: What would the holidays be like if your children didn’t have toys to open? Sadly, many local families find themselves struggling to pay their heat, food, and medical bills, with little or no money left over for toys.

Loaves & Fishes’ annual Shop for Your Kids Day will be held Dec. 17 at the Bob Eisengrein Community Center, 100 Sherman Avenue, Devens. Last year, just over 225 clients shopped from a wide selection of new toys, books, jewelry and gift cards, all donated by generous residents and companies from nearby towns. Thanks to the efforts of more than 100 volunteers working to prepare and run the event, almost 540 children received gifts from their parents or guardians; many of these children would not have received anything without this program.

When you are out doing your holiday shopping for your kids, grandkids or other relatives, consider buying a toy or donating a gift card to Shop for Your Kids. New, unwrapped gifts valued up to $25, or gift cards in denominations of $10, $15 or $25 are needed or send a check, mark “SFYK” in the note portion and mail it to Loaves & Fishes, P.O. Box 1, Ayer, MA 01432. Visit www.loavesfishespantry.org for a list of the most desired toys, books, and gift cards.

To make it even easier, drop off toys any time at the Ayer, Groton, Devens, Littleton, and Shirley police departments and post offices; Littleton High School; and Donelan’s in Littleton and Groton; and many other local businesses.

Gifts and donations may also be brought to Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, 234 Barnum Road, Devens, any Wednesday and Friday morning between Thanksgiving and Dec. 17, on Saturday morning, Dec. 5 and on Tuesday evening, Dec. 8. Donations may be delivered directly to the Eisengrein Community Center from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7. A list of drop-off locations can be found at www.loavesfishespantry.org.

Want to have a toy drive among your friends or at your company? Just e-mail Karen at LFShop4YourKids@gmail.com about your drive. Loaves & Fishes can send you a poster about the program, arrange to pick up the toys from your location and, if you want, do a little photo op and some publicity for you.

Those interested in volunteering and helping to sort and distribute toys may e-mail Deb at dlroufos@gmail.com.