AYER – The Christmas spirit was felt in abundance on Dec. 19 when an army of elves gathered to help load a truck of toys headed to the Salvation Army in Fitchburg, part of the annual police department holiday toy drive.
Toy drive founder and coordinator Sergeant John MacDonald said the police department has been collecting toys for 22 years.
“We give the toys right back to the community with our own application process and after we fulfill the needs of our own residents, we share the rest with the Salvation Army of Fitchburg,” he said.
They typically collect and distribute upwards of 5,000 toys each holiday season, with generous donors being town and area residents, civic groups, and local businesses and organizations.
“I enjoy the positive community contacts and knowing we are doing something that makes a meaningful impact, especially for our youngest citizens,” MacDonald said when asked what he likes most about being involved with the yearly affair.
Volunteers from the Salvation Army, police officers, and more gathered on that Monday to help fill up the truck headed to Fitchburg, truly a collaborate effort.
“We don't do this alone and have strong community support,” MacDonald said. “This is an annual project that everyone enjoys being a part of. Everyone wants to help!”
He said the police department relishes doing this for the community each year.
“Our department has a long history of community outreach and believes in the philosophy of community policing,” MacDonald shared. “Programs like this help strengthen community relationships and forge new ones.”