NEWARK, NJ — It's the holiday season and to help ensure that all local little boys and girls are not shut out of their seasonal dreams, a team of eight Essex County sheriff's pick-up trucks and SUV's departed Veterans Courthouse Thursday morning to make their rounds at houses of worship, schools and social service agencies to deliver greetings and gifts as part of the Annual Essex County Sheriff's Holiday Gift Drive.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura noted that the officers and civilian staff from his department made the primary donations to the toy drive along with members of the Essex County municipal staff and the local Essex county community. In total, nearly 2,500 toys and gifts were delivered on Thursday.

"We are trying to fulfill every child's need and every child's dream," Sheriff Fontoura beamed. "Our vehicles are loaded with electronic games, interactive educational electronic tablets, bicycles, skate boards, roller skates, books, all sorts of sports gear, dolls and board games. You name it we've got it."

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The beneficiaries of Sheriff Fontoura's toy drive include, among other places, The Salvation Army, 13th Avenue School, 14th Avenue School, St. John's Soup Kitchen, La Casa de Don Pedro, New Hope Baptist Church, Zion Hill Baptist Church and Hawkins,

"The work we do at this time of the year is a gift from the uniformed officers of our department to our neighbors," Sheriff Fontoura said.