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Police and community help mom get much-needed car repairs in time for Christmas

When police in a New Jersey town saw local mom Kristal Christ driving a damaged SUV around the area, they could've easily issued her a blizzard of tickets or sidelined the truck until repairs were made.

Instead, the Washington Township Police Department settled on another option: helping her fix it themselves.

"We would see it on the road and think it was either time to stop it, or do we do something nice and we fix it for her?" Washington Township Lt. James Teter told TODAY.com. "We decided the latter."

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Members of the police department determined who the owner of the SUV was, and then paid a visit to Christ's home Dec. 19 to ask if they could help. The rear driver's side door on the green Chevrolet SUV was so damaged that Christ had been holding it in place with a piece of rope, and one of the tires was bald. Christ, 31, a mother of three young children, didn't have the more than $2,000 needed for repairs.

Washington Township Police Department

TODAY reached out to Christ, who was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon because she was at work.

"It was priceless,'' Teter said about her reaction. "She was just smiling ear to ear. It was nice to see the overwhelming happiness with someone willing to help her out."

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The police reached out to the community, getting a replacement rear passenger door donated from Port Murray Auto Salvage in nearby Mansfield Township and getting a new rear tire donated by STS Car Service Center in Washington Township.

The new equipment was installed by Stew's Auto Body in town while the police gave Christ's children a tour of the police station. The officers also gave Christ a $100 gift card out of their own pockets to buy presents for the children. Other local businesses have also inquired about how they can help the family, according to Teter.

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"It's been a pleasure to see the local support,'' he said. "It's not always cops and robbers for us all the time. A lot of what we see is the bad side of people. I think our officers slept very good that night. I'm very proud of my them."

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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