FAIR LAWN, N.J. -- Members of Fair Lawn PBA Local 67 are once again gearing up for one of the Northeast's largest and most fulfilling missions of mercy -- the Bergen County PBA Toy Drive.
"Last year, we partnered with Dan Sewall, the owner of Radburn Exxon, and he set up a 24-hour toy drop, and provided a storage facility and trailer for all of the toys collected, " said Fair Lawn Police Officer Michael O'Brien. "Danny donated his own time and funds to purchase large banners that he posted at the intersection to bring attention to the drive."
A box for unwrapped toys and other gifts is also at Fair Lawn Borough Hall.
Police officers from dozens of Bergen County towns -- dubbed the "Santa Response Team" -- will distribute the presents to terminally ill, sick and needy children at the M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, among other locations.
Retired Closter Police Sgt. Donald Nicoletti, who helped found the Bergen County PBA Toy Drive 27 years ago, said it's "wonderful to see the hearts that these men and women show" in a world with "certain people pushing so much negativity out there."
The annual collection includes other emergency responders, family members and friends, who sort through what become mountains of donations at the Closter firehouse.
The collection provides enough leftovers to fill Christmas wish lists for several local organizations that service needy children and their families.
Last year, a record 42 police departments participated. Military members from the Teaneck Armory turned out in force again — both to collect presents for families of soldiers overseas and to transport the deluge of gifts in four vehicles to the various locations.
As is the custom, personal wish lists were also filled for local families in need.
Through the years, Fair Lawn residents and businesses have donated thousands of gifts.
"This year's goal is to collect even more toys to ensure kids in need receive that much needed light of hope during the holiday season," O'Brien said.
CHECKS can also be written to Fair Lawn PBA Local #67, P.O. Box 276, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410 ( MEMO: "2015 Toy Drive").
MORE INFO: Call O'Brien at (201) 796-1400 (Fair Lawn PD).
(Residents of other towns who want to donate should check with their local police departments.)
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