What began as a "Secret Santa" gesture by one Closter police officer (who wishes to remain anonymous) to bring Christmas to kids whose letters to Santa often went unanswered, has turned into the S.R.T.-- the Santa Response Team -- a county-wide outpouring of the P.B.A.
On Tuesday December 20th, members from local police departments, fire departments and the military will descend upon the Closter Fire Dpt. (100 Ruckman Rd.) where over two dozen Bergen County police departments will deliver all the toys they have collected at their departments and volunteers will sort through them according to age and sex.
The toys will then be loaded onto U-Hauls, buses and trucks and delivered to area hospitals and programs by Santa Claus.
Every year this event grows to include more P.B.A.'s, organizations and volunteers. The S.R.T. wants to make this year the biggest one yet.
"Despite the economy, people are being extremely generous this year," the secret Santa said.
This year the P.B.A. has invited reality TV star Johnny Meatballs, Frankie Antipasto and Mr. Cupcake to feed all of the volunteers and anyone who drops off a gift. Excited to be a part of this event, Johnny Meatballs said, "This is what the season of giving is all about."
Volunteers are welcome to help sort the toys and load them and onto the trucks for delivery. The toys will be delivered to military families, Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital, Westside Infant & Teen Center, Tomorrow's Children, Bergen County Head Start Program, New Hope and Shelter our Sisters.
New, unwrapped gifts can be delivered to any of the following police departments before Dec. 20th, or taken directly to the Closter Fire Dpt. on Dec. 20th: