NEW BEDFORD - Did you start Christmas shopping yet? Don't worry, you're not alone. But Safe Zones of New Bedford, along with local police departments, is asking that if you are going out this weekend that you purchase a toy for a child you don't know.

Jerry Pinto, President of Safe Zones, says the 6th Annual Fill the Bus Toy Drive has partnered with police departments in Acushnet, New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, and even State Police. "Police involvement with community activities help break down a lot of walls between the community and law enforcement. They're better relationships so the kids and the parents can see the police in a whole different level," says Pinto.

School buses will be stationed throughout each community Saturday, accepting new or gently used toys that will be distributed to needy children in time for Christmas. Pinto says the toys will benefit children across the Southcoast. "From Fall River to Wareham, if need be. And wherever else the need is there. I don't want to say we can heal the world or give everybody a gift this Christmas, but we're going to try hard to do as much as we can."

Gifts for all ages are accepted from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. at the following locations:

  • Acushnet
    • 130 Main Street (Between fire station and town hall)
  • Dartmouth
    • Target, 479 State Road
  • Fairhaven
    • Walmart, 42 Fairhaven Common Way
  • New Bedford
    • The Boat Restaurant,  945 Ashley Boulevard
    • Walgreens, 1103 Kempton Street (Accepting donations from 9 A.M. Saturday - 9 A.M. Sunday)
    • Wonder Bowl, 66 Hathaway Road