Pulling together for the benefit of children who are in need, those forty-plus communities will load the toys they've collected since Thanksgiving and deliver them to the Closter Fire House on Wednesday, December 17, 2014. There, volunteers will sort through the piles of toys and separate them by age group and gender. Once sorted, the toys will then be packed up and taken to the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center and Englewood Medical Center. When they arrive, the toys will be handed out by none other than jolly Saint Nick, himself.
In the past, celebrities and popular athletes have shown up to help spread the joy amongst the youngsters, and organizers are hoping that this year that will once again be the case. The drive is a display of selflessness and has grown beyond expectations. According to now-retired Closter Sgt. Don Nicoletti, who was one of the driving forces behind the program since it began, “It has grown because of the help of so many men and women who contribute to it."
Promising to be one of the biggest toy drives to date, it is set to occur amidst a time of widespread protests against what is seen as police brutality and misconduct. That is unfortunate, for as one police officer relates, "the drive is an example of the contributions officers can make to their communities."
On hand will also be several food venders determined to help the cause. One such vendor is Johnny "Meatballs" DeCarlo, also known as the Meatball King of New Jersey, who will be in his Ball Bus dishing out complimentary meatballs for every toy brought in and donated. It is such acts of generosity that has made the program what it is. As DeCarlo relates, "It's all about the children and we can't lose sight of that. That's why we do it and it's really all that matters."
You're right, Johnny. That is all that matters.