By Jim Williams

(CBS) — A young Chicago police officer digs deep into his own pocket to make the holidays bright for children in a tough neighborhood.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.

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The officer’s name is Howard Ray — a Santa with a badge. From February until November, he sets aside $300 from each paycheck to buy toys — lots of toys – for children in the Austin neighborhood.

“I love these kids, even though I don’t know them,” Ray says.

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It’s a way of life for Ray. Earlier this year, he and another officer, Matthew Jackson, helped a children of a woman who had left an abusive relationship.

“The neighborhood needs it because it’s a lot of low-income children in this area and a lot of parents don’t work,” says Verna Goins, a grandmother.

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Officer Ray is looking for technical help to build a crime prevention app that would connect the community with services.