More than 200 children receive Christmas gifts collected through Burlington County Sheriff’s Department toy drive

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Staff from the Emmons School in Pemberton Township pick up donated toys and gifts from the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department to distribute to needy children and families.PHOTO COURTESY OF BURLINGTON COUNTY
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Burlington County Sheriff Anthony Basantis, center, accepts a donation of toys and games from the Burlington County Commissioners for the Sheriff Department’s 26th Annual Holiday Toy Drive. Pictured are Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, right, and Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell. PHOTO COURTESY OF BURLINGTON COUNTY
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Staff from the Emmons School in Pemberton Township pick up donated toys and gifts from the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department to distribute to needy children and families.PHOTO COURTESY OF BURLINGTON COUNTY
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Burlington County Sheriff Anthony Basantis, center, accepts a donation of toys and games from the Burlington County Commissioners for the Sheriff Department’s 26th Annual Holiday Toy Drive. Pictured are Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, right, and Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell. PHOTO COURTESY OF BURLINGTON COUNTY

Santa Claus had some extra help this holiday season from the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department, which just wrapped up its largest holiday toy drive ever.

Now in its 26th year, more than 220 local children received toys and gifts from the drive this year, a nearly 50% increase over last year’s successful operation, according to information provided by Burlington County.

“Each year, we set out to make the holidays special for families who are struggling. This year, we were able to brighten the holiday for more children than ever before,” Sheriff Anthony Basantis said in the statement. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of our officers and civilian staff, partner agencies and the incredible generosity of all who donated. I want to thank everyone involved, wishing them and their families a happy holiday.”

“ ‘Tis the season of giving, and once again, our Sheriff’s Department has set an example for us all to follow with this successful toy drive,” Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson said in the statement. “Thanks to the department and the community and business support they receive, numerous local children will have something under their trees. It’s an outstanding service and we’re overjoyed by this year’s incredible success.”

Ten agencies assisted with the distribution of toys and other items to additional families and children in need, including the Department of Child Protection and Permanency’s East and West offices, the Christian Caring Center, Sisterhood, Foster and Adoptive Services, Edgewater Park School District, Florence Township Police Department, Catholic Charities Providence House, Youth Advocate Program and the Pemberton Township School District.

More than 60 business, nonprofits and government offices also volunteered to serve as collection sites for the drive.

Basantis said the community support for this year’s drive was unprecedented but that the Department’s Community Services Unit’s would continue to accept and distribute donations of food, toiletries, water, toys and other household goods to agencies and families in need throughout the year, according to the statement.