The scheduling policy for this year’s Blue Santa toy distribution begins and ends much earlier than usual, Blue Santa coordinator Martha Bailey announced.
In past years officers have been able to pick up their toys as late as Dec. 20. This year the distribution begins the first weekend in November (Nov. 7-8) and takes place each November weekend thereafter from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The distribution will continue from November 30 – December 4, 2015 in the HPD gym.
“Start your wrapping early,” Bailey said. “Don’t let it creep up on you. Christmas comes before you know it. Get your Blue Santa out of the way.”
The great HPD Christmas season tradition enables officers to have various amounts deducted from their paychecks throughout the year, enabling the purchase of toys for needy children in their beats. The amount of the deductions determines the number of kids an officer can sponsor. Each Blue Santa officer is responsible for picking up the toys, wrapping them and delivering the gifts to the children they have chosen by Christmas Day.
Usually officers are able to pick up their toys as late as Dec. 20 but Bailey said the schedule has made it difficult for Blue Santa coordinators to spend holiday time with their family and therefore it will be moved up so that we can all have a Merry Christmas.
This year’s distribution will take place in the old Dispatch room on the second floor at 33 Artesian at Central Patrol. Times are 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday in November. The first opportunity for pickup will be Nov. 7 and 8 and will continue through November 28 & 29.
“Once again the officers who donate have to pick up their toys,” Bailey pointed out. “They cannot send a citizen to pick them up.”
Bailey announced another important schedule change for this year: The December distribution schedule will happen only through the first week of December. Officer who did not pick up their toys in the month of November can pick up their toys in the HPD gym starting November 30, through December 4, 2015 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. No distribution will take place after this weekend.
“This is the only week we’ll be distributing in December,” Bailey said. “Usually we go from Dec. 1 until the 20th. Honestly, when we do this, those of us working with Blue Santa don’t get to enjoy the Christmas holidays with our families because we keep ourselves so busy with Blue Santa”
“Blue Santa is fortunate to have Officer G. Davis and Off. D. Mireles who give so much of their time and muscle to the program that I want to make sure that we all have time to enjoy the Christmas holidays,” Bailey said, while urging all officers to “please pick your families and pick up your toys on time. You have ample time to do so and let’s make this a Merry Christmas for a lot of children.”
Currently about 1,100 of HPD’s approximately 5,200 officers participate in the Blue Santa program. “Some give a dollar per paycheck, some give up to $50,” Bailey explained. “You can give as much or as little as you want. However, keep in mind that the amount you donate determines the number of children you can sponsor.”