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PHOTOS: Bergen PBA Delivers Thousands Of Toys To Ill, Needy Youngsters

At the Sanzari Children's Hospital.
At the Sanzari Children's Hospital. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Closter PD
"Santa" and Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Walter Hutchinson join "Elf" at the Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack.
"Santa" and Bergen County Sheriff's Officer Walter Hutchinson join "Elf" at the Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack. Photo Credit: Westwood Police Officer Chris Horst
Youngsters join Santa, Elf and the men behind the badges at a hospital stop.
Youngsters join Santa, Elf and the men behind the badges at a hospital stop. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Closter PD
Lodi Police Officer Javier Hernandez and Brianna H. sort through toys at the Closter Fire Department for the annual PBA Toy Drive.
Lodi Police Officer Javier Hernandez and Brianna H. sort through toys at the Closter Fire Department for the annual PBA Toy Drive. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Helpers and officers alike sorted through the mountains of toys in no time.
Helpers and officers alike sorted through the mountains of toys in no time. Photo Credit: Brian Donaghy
Fair Lawn Police Officer Michael O'Brien offers a free hand.
Fair Lawn Police Officer Michael O'Brien offers a free hand. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
Westwood police did their part.
Westwood police did their part. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Westwood PD
Hospital-bound line up outside of the Closter Police Department to be loaded with toys.
Hospital-bound line up outside of the Closter Police Department to be loaded with toys. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
U.S. Army reservists from the Teaneck Armory load a military vehicle with toys.
U.S. Army reservists from the Teaneck Armory load a military vehicle with toys. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
A Fairview police officer loads toys into a truck headed to the hospital.
A Fairview police officer loads toys into a truck headed to the hospital. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Fairview in the (fire)house.
Fairview in the (fire)house. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
The drive was a family affair for Norwood Police Sgt. Paul Kapu and son, Cameron.
The drive was a family affair for Norwood Police Sgt. Paul Kapu and son, Cameron. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
Cupcake Cutie Sonja Kramer Karlis of Cresskill holds up a toy she helps sort at the toy drive.
Cupcake Cutie Sonja Kramer Karlis of Cresskill holds up a toy she helps sort at the toy drive. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
Military members from the Teaneck Armory with NY Giants player Michael Cox.
Military members from the Teaneck Armory with NY Giants player Michael Cox. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Santa with his Response Team.
Santa with his Response Team. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
Closter Police Officer Justin Krapels takes a Paramus teddy bear for a spin.
Closter Police Officer Justin Krapels takes a Paramus teddy bear for a spin. Photo Credit: Arthur Augustyn
A military member from the Teaneck Armory loads toys into a truck headed to the hospital.
A military member from the Teaneck Armory loads toys into a truck headed to the hospital. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Response Team members beam with joy.
Response Team members beam with joy. Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco
Closter Police Officer Justin Krapels as Santa with the volunteers at this year's Bergen County PBA Toy Drive.
Closter Police Officer Justin Krapels as Santa with the volunteers at this year's Bergen County PBA Toy Drive. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

CLOSTER, N.J. — Time stood still Wednesday for Don Nicoletti during the Bergen County PBA's Annual Toy Drive.

For the 28th year in a row, the "commander" marveled at the response from the "Santa Response Team" -- members of more than four dozen law enforcement agencies and other volunteers -- who trucked thousands of toys to the Closter firehouse.

"We're making magic happen," Nicoletti told Daily Voice.

"We don't have the power to relieve [those ailing and in need]," he said, "but we try to bring a little bit of joy to them just for a moment."

The Bergen County agencies -- along with their Orangetown colleagues -- amassed thousands of gifts Wednesday morning that some of them personally delivered to hospitals and other destinations for sick, terminally ill and needy youngsters and their families.

First, though, they had to be sorted -- a task handled by U.S. Army reservists from the Teaneck Armory, helpers of all stripes and the responders themselves, including chiefs and other ranking officers.

Eight Little Ferry police officers spent their day off at the event helping out, Chief Ralph Verdi told Daily Voice.

"We've been doing this for 7 years, and it just feels good to see the young guys giving back," Verdi said. "Everyone in town helped out — schools, businesses.

"Everyone's reaction was, 'What do you need?' "

Soon after, several officers set off to meet pediatric cancer patients at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center .

Other presents were headed to other hospitals and organizations -- as well as to several specific families facing tragedy, loss and need whose wish lists were being filled.

Police thanked all the citizens who donated, as well as countless businesses who contributed money and presents and served as drop-off points.

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