Gifts arrived in Brooklyn this weekend not to the traditional chimes of jingle bells but to the sounds of an NYPD DJ and police sirens.

It was all part of the department’s annual sleigh ride that delivers gifts to families in need across the city.

Many are courtesy of the First Responders Children's Foundation, which started after 9/11.

Jillian Crane has been its president for the last two and a half years.

"These children have made a sacrifice," she said.

The Manhattan actress is a volunteer. She oversees oversees the team's strategy and fundraising. She’s helped bring supplies to people fighting California wildfires. And in the last nine months, her team distributed nine thousand grants to those on the frontlines of the pandemic.

"They don't seem to stop," Crane said. "So I feel like the foundation can't stop."

Crane's team also collected 250,000 presents for the Foundation's first ever Toy Express holiday drive.
The presents went out to local first responder organizations in 36 states.

"About 70 percent of first responders, which include EMTS, are volunteers," she said. "So to be able to provide a Christmas for them is just, we're really happy to give a little bit of joy right now."

One hundred thousand of those toys went to organizations in New York State, including the city’s Fire and Police departments.  

"I just love seeing the look on the children's faces of happiness and joy," Crane said as she handed out toys.

Wanda Hernandez's family received gifts at a sleigh stop in Brownsville. "Especially on this day that the situation is so bad, it's a blessing for all these gifts," said Wanda Hernandez.

Crane says giving back like this has given her some much needed motivation during these uncertain times.

"It really has been getting me out of bed every day during this time that's been a little bit stressful to know that what we're doing actually goes to the people that need it," she said

For responding to those on the frontlines and to all those families in need, Jillian Crane is our New Yorker of the Week.