Westport police have launched their annual toy drive for underprivileged children, with a plea that the need is acute this year in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

New and unwrapped toys, plus cash donations, are being accepted through Dec. 16 at Police Department headquarters, 50 Jesup Road.

Officers also will collect toys and cash donations in the Athletic Shoe Factory parking lot, 1560 Post Road East from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 8 and 9, 15 and 16.

The drive is sponsored by the Westport Police Union Local 2080 and Police Benevolent Association.

Drive organizers said they anticipate greater need than in past years because families are struggling to recover from destruction caused by Sandy.