NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A New Haven school received toys and bikes donated by surrounding communities on Tuesday. It’s an effort involving local police and grade-school students to ensure the kids have a present on Christmas morning.

What started with a minivan has now grown into a UHaul truck. After seven years, Ryan McFarland, a former New Haven police officer, continues dropping off toys and bikes, determined now more than ever to spread holiday cheer.

“I worked in this area, and I like to see the kids happy,” McFarland said. “This, obviously, isn’t the richest part of the city, so to have these kids happy and get something on Christmas morning, it’s the joy of life, and let them know not all cops are bad.”

The volunteers helping him out are a group of Lincoln-Bassett students who call themselves “The Batman Brunch.”

“I changed,” said Justin Valbuena, a 6th grader. “I was no good in school, and I was slacking off. After I joined the group, I became good at school.”

“It just makes me turn into a different person,” said DeAndrea, a 4th grader. “He’s trying to help us build our character and has made me feel more confident.”

Bike after bike, box after box, the donations were put into two classrooms for storage before being distributed to students in Thursday’s giant raffle.