MAHWAH, N.J. -- Mahwah P.B.A. Local #143 this Christmas season is again helping ill and needy children during one of the Northeast's largest missions of mercy -- the Bergen County PBA Toy Drive.
Mahwah police have arranged several drop-off locations for new, unwrapped toys (see list, below).
One of those spots, the Mahwah Bar & Grill, is providing a free appetizer with the meal of anyone who brings one to the restaurant between 5-10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, Mahwah PBA Vice-President Rosario Zito said.
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.
The dropoff deadline is Dec. 14.
The Mahwah locations:
- Mahwah Police Department, 221 Franklin Turnpike
- Mahwah Township Hall, 475 Corporate Drive
- Mahwah Bar & Grill, 2 Island Road
- Roxanne’s Restaurant, 150 Franklin Turnpike
- Sonny and Tony’s Restaurant, 400 Ridge Road
- Esposito’s Pizza & Restaurant, 425 Forest Road
- Stateline Diner, 375 NJ Route 17
- Kingsbridge Diner, 44 Franklin Turnpike
- Bagel Express, 75 Franklin Turnpike
- Mason Jar Restaurant, 219 Ramapo Valley Road
- ACME Shopping Center, 115 Franklin Turnpike
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