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Red Hook Court Officers Dole Out Hundreds of Toys to Kids

By Alan Neuhauser | December 20, 2012 3:41pm

RED HOOK — Court officers at the Red Hook Community Justice Center delivered hundreds of donated toys to more than 120 needy children Wednesday.

"We had boxes and boxes and bags of toys," Lt. Benny Castillo said. "We made our locker room downstairs yesterday into a makeshift wrapping area."

For at least the 10th straight year, Castillo said, the court's 16 officers collected and bought as many as 400 gifts, then gave them to daycare centers and churches in Red Hook, Gowanus and Carroll Gardens.

"We used to do it here. We'd put up a tree, someone would dress up as Santa Claus, but it got out of hand," Lt. Robert Vitucci said. "People kept coming, and how could you turn people away?"

The collection was led by court officers Charlene Sinclair and Robert Buschemi, according to Vitucci. Each child received $75 to $100 in toys.

In addition to Christmas, the court's officers also give away more than 100 turkeys and trimmings to Red Hook Houses residents every Thanksgiving.

"All the guys here, we give a lot," Castillo said. "We enjoy giving back."