PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Families in one New Jersey community were met with quite the scene Wednesday night as police, fire and rescue units showed up at their door.
“They came with fire trucks and police and ambulance guys, fire responders and they came in here, the mayor was here, and they came in with a bunch of toys for my kids,” said Peter Torruella, who was overcome with emotion.
Torruella watched with joy as his children ripped open present after present. The early Christmas cheer was courtesy of Operation St. Nick.
“Members of the community, members of the police department, we have had businesses donate money and we buy new unwrapped gifts for children in need within the community,” said Lt. William Fields, with the Mt. Holly Police Department.
Operation St. Nick began several years ago with the Mt. Holly police, fire and rescue units. Schools also help with the effort, helping to pick families that will receive the donated gifts.
Volunteers–some donating their own money–give their own time to brighten the holidays for families.
Patty Marcum started rallying parents years ago to help out and now the operation has grown tremendously.
“I rounded up the troops and that was about eight years ago and it’s taken off from here. We serviced 29 children today and that will be our highest so far,” said Marcum.
This year, 12 families will receive bags of toys and bicycles and the kids will get a visit from Santa himself. Even Spiderman tagged along for the ride.
“As law enforcement we like to show the good side of law enforcement, we like to be out there on a positive note in the community,” Fields said.
On this night, the only thing these kids and family members see are people who care, people with no other agenda but to put a smile on their faces.
“One of the best Christmas ever for my kids,” Torruella said. “I’ll remember this day forever.”