Fair Lawn police officers, dispatchers and rescue squad volunteers Tuesday loaded the heaps of toys they've amassed this holiday season into a van headed for the Closter Fire Department, which serves as Bergen County's Toys for Tots distribution center.
The toys, collected through resident donations, will support a wide range of worthy groups and causes including local children's hospitals, homeless shelters, religious institutions and the children of deployed military service members. Trucks carrying toys will also make stops in Toms River for distribution to Hurricane Sandy victims, and in Newtown, Conn., for those affected by Friday's devastating school shooting.
James Teehan, a Paramus police detective who made toy collection runs throughout Bergen County Tuesday, said all of the toys will be warehoused and sorted at the Closter Fire Department starting Wednesday before being distributed.
Although the rescue squad has done Toys for Tots collections in the past, Fair Lawn Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 67 president Michael O'Brien said it's the first year the Fair Lawn police have been involved. He said next year he'd like to get an earlier start on collections and bring in twice as many toys for children in need.
O'Brien offered particular thanks to the local businesses that served as toy drop-off sites for this year's drive and to the Paramus Toys 'R' Us, where organizers purchased a number of new gifts using the generous monetary donation of a resident.