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Westerly police officers Howard Mills and Desiree Peterson loaded donated toys into a cruiser during a toy drive in front of the Westerly Walmart in December 2017. Sun file photo

WESTERLY — The holiday season is fast approaching and local police and firefighters are teaming with Walmart and the Jonnycake Center to make sure everyone has an opportunity to enjoy Thanksgiving.

The Westerly Police Department and Dunn's Corners Fire Department will host a joint collection on Saturday at the Westerly Walmart, 258 Post Road in Westerly, from noon to 4 p.m. The event is the first of three that the departments are planning to host over the next several months, officials said.  

The primary goal of the first collection will be to collect food for needy families. Any excess donations will be used to help restock the Jonnycake food pantry.

"It's just our way of giving back as police and first responders in the community, and it seems every year our town and its residents answer the call," Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said. "We often see people in their time of need, we see how bad it can be. This is our chance to have some positive interaction and give back to the families who need it most."

The Jonnycake Center said it helps about 400 families every Thanksgiving and often more during he Christmas season. Toy donations will also be accepted on Saturday. The toys will be included in the annual delivery that the police make to the Jonnycake Center in mid-December.

Dates of future collections will be announced in the coming weeks, the police said. 

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