SAPD Gives Back With Blue Santa Event for Children
SAN ANGELO, TX – As the holiday season is in full swing, the San Angelo Police Department is gearing up for their annual Blue Santa event. Blue Santa is a tradition in which SAPD hosts a special Christmas shopping spree for local kids.
To select the children who could benefit the most from this event, at the beginning of the school year Officer Raymond Francis reaches out to every elementary school in SAISD. The department asks at-risk coordinators and counselors to identify two children per school. Once SAPD has a list of students they reach out to the families to let them know the details of the program.
Ever year SAPD reaches out to local businesses for donations that fund the program. Donations are received from San Angelo businesses and even from out of state. SAPD officers then invite the selected children and their parents to a shopping trip on December 14th at Walmart on 29th Street. At the store, each child selects a police officer to accompany them and together they select the items the children desire the most for the holidays.
Many families struggle during the holiday season and SAPD works hard to make a difference in any way they can. Over 40 children will be a part of Blue Santa this year and since 2007 the event has been a special part of SAPD’s community connection.
“Seeing the reaction of the kids is humbling because it makes you grateful for what you do have,” said Francis.
Since the program started twelve years ago, 450 kids have been part of the event. Over the years the event expanded to include more kids and increase the amount of money each child would be gifted.
This year, in addition to the SAPD officers that will participate, ten members of the Goodfellow Security Forces team will join the event. They will also be inviting a child who lives on base and currently has a parent deployed to join the group of children.
The event allows the children to have fun with officers and get in the Christmas spirit.
“The number of smiles that we get is awesome,” said Francis. “It is our way of giving back to our community and showing that we care, and we want to help and this is one way that we can do it.”
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