Deptford police gift CHOP children with toys through holiday drive

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Volunteers gathered Saturday at the Deptford Police Station for the 9th annual Toy Drive. (WPVI)

The Deptford Township Fraternal Order of Police has been collecting toys for weeks, but still some of Santa's helpers like to wait until the last minute.

Volunteers gathered Saturday at the Deptford Police Station for the 9th annual Toy Drive, filling up police vehicles and fire trucks with more than 1,000 toys for patients at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"Really we just do it because we want to do for the kids and their families that aren't so fortunate to be at home like others are," said John Gillespie of FOP Lodge #72.

Before long, the trucks carrying the toys and Santa arrived at CHOP.

Among the volunteers was 11-year-old Riley Carty who had brain surgery in March.

Having spent weeks at the hospital, he knows how important the toys are to the children there.

"It gets old, you want to go see your friends and aunts and uncles," said Riley of Westville, New Jersey, adding it can get lonely.

"Even one present where they might not have seen a present because their parents are here, they're losing time at work, can mean the difference for a family," said mom Jennifer Carty.

For many volunteers, the event isn't just about helping the kids at CHOP. It's also about teaching their own kids to give back during the holidays.

Retired police Sgt. Chris Thomas brought the whole family, including 10-year-old Corey, who's on the autism spectrum.

"His biggest thing is interacting, making eye contact and being involved with other people," said Thomas. "It's an awesome experience for him to come out here and do this with us."

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