An arresting toy story at ‘Shop with a Cop’ in Hewlett


Police officers from Nassau and Suffolk counties and the New York City Police Department were called to the scene. There were multiple law enforcement vehicles on the scene, including a motorcycle and a 210-pound Great Dane named Grey.

This was no ordinary scene and the only “crime” that was committed was an overabundance of generosity as Project Thank A Cop held its second annual Michael Geraldi-Ray Abear Holiday Shop with a Cop at Matty’s Toy Stop in the Peninsula Shopping Center in Hewlett on Dec. 4.

Project Thank A Cop was established by Wantagh resident Maegan Fox to show support and appreciation to law enforcement members. Geraldi was a NYPD officer who died on Sept. 1, 2020 of a brain aneurysm while on the job.An Inwood native, he worked in the store, Movieland Video, which is now the site of Matty’s Toy Stop.

Abear, a detective with the Queens Special Victims Squad, died on April 13, 2020, from Covid-19, after what officials called “a presumed exposure while on duty.”

Roughly 100 children from across Long Island and the city, who have endured difficult times shopped for $100 worth of toys, accompanied by a police officer, and $50 worth of toys for children who are patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Hew Hyde Park. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were on hand and the holiday festivities included music and snacks.

“Trying circumstances,” Fox said about the kids, some who lost a parent to those in families enduring hard time, as she stood in the front of the toy store coordinating the event with the help of several volunteers, including her husband, Andy.

Matty’s Toy Stop owner Jim McQuade, along with his employees, were also busy ensuring that the event went smoothly. He said that it is a great event that helps kids in lousy situations.

A person noting that the store’s shelves are well stocked despite the reported supply chain issues created by the coronavirus pandemic, McQuade said he saw it coming and prepared by ordering early. “We’re a community store and we want to make sure we’re giving people what they want,” he said.

A banner hung across the store’s front window with the names of the people and groups that donated to the Thank A Cop Project.

That included the Hewlett Ornament donation of $500 from people in the Hewlett-Woodmere communities who bought Christmas ornaments that were attached to the tree at the Veterans Memorial Triangle n Hewlett.

The Goldstein family of Lynbrook: Christie, Brian, Hayley and Chloe helped to spur that donation and placed the ornaments on the tree that Saturday morning for the community tree lighting on Dec. 5.