Riverhead PBA members packed boxes of food and bags of gifts for local families at the municipal garage this morning. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Every year at this time, Riverhead PBA members make sure that local families in need have a Merry Christmas.

The police officers adopt families suggested by local schools and churches and deliver turkey dinners with all the trimmings, plus gift bags filled with presents. This year, they adopted 13 families. They also delivered food to a local food pantry and the veterans’ home.

“This is a way to give back to the community, to support our neighbors in need,” said Riverhead Police Officer Richard Anderson said this morning, as off-duty cops packed boxes with holiday dinner items inside the municipal garage. Many of the officers brought their own kids along to help. It’s an important lesson for them to learn at a young age, Anderson said — neighbors support and help each other.

Anderson expressed the PBA’s appreciation for assistance from the local Walmart, which helps with donations.

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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.