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Police Officers and Community Members Team Up to Make Christmas Special in Monroe County

EAST STROUDSBURG -- Santa ditched his sleigh in exchange for a police escort for a special delivery of gifts to Lehigh Valley Hospital Pocono in East Stroudsburg all to put a smile on the faces of more than 30 children.

"Things happen in life and I think it's great. Very important. There are a lot of families out there who need this," said Janet Dean of Saylorsburg.

Stroud Area Regional Police Officer Chris Shelly came up with this idea after one of his fellow officers, Jeff Olsen, died in 2006.

The holiday event has grown significantly over the years.

This time around, 10 families going through difficult times benefited from the 10th Annual Olsen Christmas Wish event.

"They are so grateful. The kids come and think they are getting a coloring book and we are giving them Xbox One's and PS4's I mean, and we are giving the families hundreds of dollars in food and gas gift cards. It's overwhelming a lot for them but it's overwhelming for us too," said Officer Shelly.

For this very special event, Rudy's Tavern in East Stroudsburg turns into Santa's workshop. It's the place where all the gifts are wrapped. Dozens of people donated toys to help make this event a success.

The owner of Rudy's Tavern says she has been participating in this event for the last few years. It is her way of giving back to people who need it most during the holiday season.

"Oh, it's awesome. It's so much fun. We just were able to give to a couple kids out in the parking lot who couldn't be there tonight. They are just so excited, so grateful. It's awesome," said Kelly Quaresimo.

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