NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD on Wednesday helped brighten the spirits of more than 100 children who are in need of some holiday cheer.
As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported, an officer from the 19th Precinct led the effort, raising money and shopping for toys for a very special party.
As a result of the efforts, some little ones on Wednesday were getting exactly what they asked Santa for. Indeed, the gifts they wanted appeared like magic.
They were greeted by the Santa from Macy’s – heir to Kris Kringle himself. But he had help — from the NYPD.
Officer P.J. Conley has taken over a 19th Precinct holiday tradition to bring cheer to the children at the New York Ronald McDonald House, who are battling debilitating illnesses.
“Some might not make it to next year, so we’re trying to make this the best Christmas possible for them,” Conley said.
He and more of Santa’s helpers from the 19th, 20th and other precincts delivered the toys. The officers made lists and checked them twice.
“It’s like little elves coming around and they ask different things about your child and they just kind of put it together,” said mother Darlene Foster.
“I know they’re busy, and needed. So it’s great that they take the time to do this, and it has lifted everyone’s spirits here today,” said mother Brooke Otto. “And a little bit of that goes a long way.”
Ronald McDonald houses are meant to be temporary homes for families of children in town for hospital treatment. That is why the children who got gifts from Santa Wednesday night included the brothers and sisters of the kids getting medical care.
Conley raised nearly $4,000 for toys for 107 children. He reached out to some of their families on Facebook before shopping.
“People responded, and I went to the store and just bought everything,” Conley said.
And Conley also brought the children Santa himself. For 4-year-old Belle, her mom said it was quite a moment.
“Santa to her is basically the biggest celebrity in the world,” said Julie Swersy.
“We’ve got a lot of smiling little faces,” Conley added, “and that’s the goal.”
Conley said it is the fundraiser’s donors — mostly a network of friends and family – who give these families some well-deserved holiday joy.