Riverhead PBA members assembled holiday dinners and gifts for 16 local families in need Friday morning. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead PBA members packed up holiday dinner baskets and gifts Friday morning for 16 local families in need.

The police union members adopt families each holiday season. They buy age-appropriate toys and clothing, wrap the presents and deliver them to their adopted families along with a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

It’s a longstanding Christmas tradition for the cops, said Police Officer Richard Anderson, who has been coordinating the effort for about eight years.

The officers assemble the dinner baskets and gifts at the town garage a few days before Christmas each year.

“It’s a nice surprise for the families, especially the kids,” Anderson said.

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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.