Bloomfield Police Department gathered Thursday in the Bloomfield Municipal Courtroom to continue its long standing annual holiday toy drive, where over 1,500 new toys were given to Bloomfield children and families. Bloomfield Police officers had been storing the donated gifts in the Youth Aid Division, and after Thursday’s municipal court session ended, 20 officers quickly moved the gifts into the courtroom and donned Santa or elf costumes to distribute to the public. Over 300 children and 130 families received new gifts for the holidays.
The toys were donated by local businesses, schools and residents, and purchased with funds contributed by local businesses and charitable organizations. Toy bins were set up in recent weeks outside of Hot Bagels Abroad and Shoprite. E.C.R.B. Towing, Bloomfield Cruisers, CBI, Old Canal Inn, Bloomfield High School Key Club, Demarest School, Demarest School Girl Scouts, Brookdale School, Berkeley School, Oakview School, and Clark Avenue Crew and Friends all donated toys as well. The Bloomfield Youth Aid Foundation, a non-profit foundation started by the Bloomfield Police Youth Aid Division’s Lieutenant George Ricci donated at least $1,000 to purchase toys with. Hot Bagels Abroad and United Way also donated money for this purpose.
“This great tradition of gift giving speaks to the sense of community we have here in Bloomfield, which our dedicated police officers continue to foster and support,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “Due to the volume of gifts donated and purchased with financial contributions, each family was able to take home almost a dozen new toys for the holidays. I am always glad to participate in this wonderful ceremony and am extremely grateful to our officers, specifically Lieutenant George Ricci, Detective James Romano, Detective Paul Charles, Detective Hector Nunez and Detective Shonah Maldonado of the the Bloomfield Police Youth Aid Division.”
“Building community relationships is a key principle of the Bloomfield Police Department. We are here to serve the community, and by truly engaging with the community during the holidays as well as throughout the year, we are able to build relationships that show young people and their families that they can always come to us for help,” said Director of Public Safety Samuel DeMaio. “Community policing works best when the Police are around for good things as well as when residents call in need. I would like to commend Lieutenant Ricci for planning and organizing this event, Lieutenant Naomi Zepeda, and all of our officers for continuing this great Bloomfield Police tradition, and thank all of the local businesses and individuals who donated gifts to make this possible.”
The Youth Aid Division monitors safety at Bloomfield schools and throughout the community. Bloomfield Police Officers referred to as School Resource Officers are assigned to Bloomfield High School and Bloomfield Middle School throughout the school years, and work hand in hand with school administrators as a resource to aid students whenever the need arises. The Youth Aid Division has organized and administered the Holiday Toy Drive annually for over 20 years.