Police collect the toys and money that's been donated, then usually deliver the packages to families who are struggling or unable to buy gifts for their kids.By Lindsay Ward

MONACA, Pa. (KDKA) – On Friday the Monaca Police Department and Froggy Radio are collecting toys outside of Walmart in Center Township for their Santa Cop event.

The Monaca Police Department has been doing this event for seven years now, and every year it grows. And this time around, with the pandemic, more families are unable to afford gifts for their children and that’s where these officers come in.

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When Santa Cop began, the department provided toys to around 30 families. Last year it was 74 and they expect to help around 100 or more this year.

This is how it works: after they collect toys and money that’s been donated, they deliver the many packages to families in Monaca who are struggling and are unable to purchase gifts for their children.

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“Mostly the money, we go and buy coats for all the kids, we usually buy them an outfit and shoes, we try to give them something they can use for school,” said Officer James Ball with the Monaca Police Department.

Normally officers would deliver the gifts directly to the families at their home. Each child typically gets around eight gifts. But because of the pandemic, families will be meeting at the Monaca Community Center this year. Officers hope the event brings them closer to kids in the community.

“Get the persona out there, especially the kids, that police we can be their friend and we’re here to help them, they can always come to us if they need something,” said Ball.

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The department says they’re still accepting families. If you know of one in need, reach out to them.