Every year Lt. Matt McNally shakes his head and says, "this is it," the last year the department will collect and distribute toys. It gets harder every year.
"They're not giving like they used to," he said. In the old days, people would donate computers, bicycles and game systems. Now it's board games and small toys.
The Danbury Police Department Explorers Post 33 have been collecting and distributing toys for 14 years. Collection boxes were located at the Danbury Public Works facility on the Newtown Road, Sikorsky Federal Credit Union on Main Street, the Windmill Diner on Mill Plain Road, the Police Headquarters lobby, and others.
Once the toys are brought to headquarters, social service agencies, such as the state Department of Children and Families, the Danbury Hospital, Community Action Committee of Danbury, the Hispanic Center and others come by and look for toys for their children.
"We're here for the children of patients," said Danbury Hospital Nurse Practitioner Nancy D'Amato, who visited the Danbury Police Department Tuesday for the toys. "It's for the patients who are struggling financially. They have almost nothing."
People donate money in addition to toys, and that money is used to buy specific presents for certain children, such as a two-year-old girl who wants a Dora the Explorer doll.
"Now, most of out best presents come from the two days we're at Toys R Us," said Officer David Antedomenico, who works with the explorers. On those days, the Santas in Blue set up outside the store, and people come in, shop and drop off toys for the Explorers on their way out.