WATERVILLE, Maine — A monthlong food drive has been organized in the name of missing toddler Ayla Reynolds.
The 20-month-old girl was last seen at her father’s Waterville home in December 2011. Her third birthday will be on April 4.
‘Wishes for Ayla’ is a monthlong food drive in April to help children, families and communities. The drive will raise food and donations for the NorthEast Dream Center, a charity that supports many food pantries and shelters in rural New England.
Participants are asked to donate a nonperishable food item in Ayla’s name.
Birthday card boxes also will be set up at Joseph’s Market on Front Street in Waterville and Pleau’s Market on China Road in Winslow. The birthday cards will be sent to the maternal side of Ayla’s family, including her mother, Trista Reynolds.
Although it’s been more than 15 months since Ayla Reynolds was last seen at the home of Justin DiPietro, her father, police vowed in December that they would continue their search.
“We will continue until we get the answers we need, especially the answer to the question, ‘Where is little Ayla?’” Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in December.
Investigators conducted numerous interviews with those closest to the child and searched the home, neighborhood, woods and waterways in the ensuing months after her disappearance, all to no avail.
“This is a case that has pulled at the heartstrings of all of us,” Waterville Police Chief Joe Massey said in December. “And that is why we’re so committed to following this investigation through to its end. Even though we approach the one-year mark of Ayla’s disappearance, we’re committed today as we were the first day of the investigation.”
Those wishing to contribute to the Wishes for Ayla project, but who are not local to the Waterville and Winslow areas, can send tax-deductible, charitable contributions in Ayla’s name to: NorthEast Dream Center, 18 Lithgow Street, Winslow, ME 04901.