NEW YORK — Santa came early for some special families in New York City.
As the annual NYPD Sleigh Ride kicked off, officers dresses as superheroes and Santa made stops in all five boroughs to spread holiday cheer and drop off gifts to families affected by gun violence.
Each family suffered personal tragedies, losing a loved one to gun violence. Along the way, a stop in the Bronx at the home of 7-year-old Jamie Morgan, a shooting victim herself. Bullets hit the third grader and her father on Halloween night as they were out trick-or-treating.
Detective Kaz Daughtry responded to the scene that night.
“I remember seeing her personally laying on the gurney at Harlem Hospital and to see her now walking around and so excited to about her two boxes,” said Daughtry.
The NYPD’s annual Sleigh Ride started years ago in Brooklyn North by Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, who is now head of community affairs. The department partnered up with several organizations including, NYC Police Foundation, Marines Toys for Tots and The First Responders Children’s Foundation just to name a few.
The children of a Jackson Heights mother killed after stray bullet came through her window also received toys.
“We know we can’t bring back their loved one but if we can give them a little happiness, put a smile on the youngest siblings face it makes us feel special,” said Chief Maddrey.
The Sleigh Ride has grown tremendously and took months to prepare, with dozens of volunteers and at least 100,000 toys donated. The sleigh ride will continue until Christmas spreading joy to families who need it now more than ever.