The Riverhead PBA adopted 18 families for the holiday and are providing them with complete turkey dinners and gifts. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead’s finest are playing Santa today.

In an annual tradition going back more than 20 years, Riverhead PBA members assembled baskets containing a holiday turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including locally grown potatoes donated by Riverhead farmer Jim Zilnicki — and dessert and candy canes, too.

The holiday dinners, along with bags full of gifts for children in the 18 families adopted by the organization this year, are being delivered across town today by officers. In all, the cops shopped for 40 kids this year — and wrapped all the presents for them.

They got family profiles from local schools and churches, said Riverhead PBA board member Rich Anderson, who organizes the effort.

“We appreciate the support of the community, the residents and businesses, all year long, which helps us provide Christmas dinners and gifts to local families in need,” Anderson said.

“Walmart has been very generous with discounts for the toys and gifts,” Anderson said. “They’ve helped us out for the last four years. This year they actually called me about it.”

About 20 PBA members and some of their children turned out to the municipal garage early this morning to pack up the baskets.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.