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Dozens Of New Jersey Police Departments Team Up For Massive Toy Drive Benefitting Local Children In Need

CLOSTER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- It's about to be a very happy holiday for children in need in New Jersey.

It's all thanks to police departments coming together once again in an annual effort to give back.

The Closter Fire Department cleared out its fire house to make room for gifts galore. Santa's helpers unloaded trucks filled with toys Friday for children in need.

"We try to make the magic happen," retired Closter Police Sgt. Don Nicoletti said.

Nicoletti has been the man behind the magic for more than three decades.

"Thirty-three years ago, Closter started a toy drive, and we had just a handful of men and women collect toys, and our objective was to go to Tomorrows Children and bring couple of bags," Nicoletti told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis.

It has since grown into a massive effort known as the PBA Toy Drive, involving 60 police departments from Bergen County and beyond, known as "Santa's Response Team."

"The point is to give," Paramus Police Lt. Jimmy Tehan said.

"What I love about it is that it really gets every police department involved within the county," retired police dispatcher Kathy Goldrick said.

"Over the years, I brought my son here just to see the good work that law enforcement does on behalf of the communities and also to really give him a lifelong lesson in the meaning of giving back," Fairlawn Police Officer Michael O'Brien said.

The gifts go to military families, shelters and patients at several local children's hospitals.

"To be able to put a smile on their face and bring them some toys, bring them some things, that's what made it all worth it," Fairlawn Police Officer Luis Vasquez said.

Giving the first responders a helping hand this year is Giants football player Jonotthan Harrison.

"It means a lot just because I feel like people lose track of people that maybe are less fortunate," he said. "This is just a great cause."

All in the spirit of giving, what the holiday season is truly all about.

After the group sorted the gifts Friday, they were either picked up or delivered to more than 50 different organizations, including children's hospitals.

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