BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- More than 300 children received a bag filled with toys at the Bloomfield Police Department’s annual holiday toy drive on Tuesday night.  

Families lined up in the police department’s second floor courtroom and took a picture with Santa, played by Bloomfield resident Steve Tice, before being handed their bag of gifts. 

“This is a true community event,” Mayor Mike Venezia told TAPinto Bloomfield. “Residents come together and donate the toys, our police department purchases a lot of toys and families walk away with a significant bag of gifts to make sure they have on Christmas for the children.” 

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Parents were also given Shoprite gift cards and families with older children received Visa and Target gift cards. 

Sponsors for the event included the Bloomfield Youth Aid Foundation, Hot Bagels Abroad, United Way of Bloomfield, Bloomfield Cruisers and many Bloomfield families. 

“Having a strong relationship with our community is a top priority of our police department, and our staff genuinely cares about this community, which is why we look forward to helping those in need every year,” said Bloomfield Director of Public Safety Samuel DeMaio. 

The drive has been providing less fortunate Bloomfield families with toys for the holidays for more than 20 years. Captain George Ricci explained that the event grows larger every year. 

“It’s an important thing that we really enjoy doing for the community, for people who really need presents for Christmas,” Ricci told TAPinto Bloomfield. “It doesn’t get old seeing the smiles on kids’ faces. It really is special for all of us that are involved.”