As you read this, Blue Santa will be delivering Christmas presents to needy children on a patrol beat.
Blue Santa, of course, is the alias of Houston police officers involved in a unique community outreach program which began more than 30 years ago.
Currently more than 1,500 officers (just under one third of the force) have at least $1 deducted from their paychecks throughout the year. In November, Blue Santa volunteers use the money to purchase presents for kids aged infant to 13 years old.
“The toys are all bought with the money,” Blue Santa coordinator Martha Bailey explained. “There are very few donations.”
Blue Santa’s toy shop is located in the old dispatch area of 61 Riesner. Bailey said officers have until Dec. 10 to pick up the presents. “It’s strictly up to the individual officer as to when the presents are delivered,” she said.
The elaborate pick-up process began in November with toy shop doors open every day from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bailey reminded the Badge & Gun that for every $2 deduction an officer one child. She said some officers contribute $5 to even $100 per paycheck. “We do have a lot of $10 or $20 deductions per paycheck,” she said.
More many years Officer David Mireles has served as the Blue Santa who makes seasonal appearances at churches, schools and community events. This year he has a second in command of the blue sleigh. That is Sgt. George Smith.
Smith is depicted in the HPD “toy shop” on the cover of this issue.
Mireles reiterated another Blue Santa tradition. A proud Blue Santa sponsor, Central Police Supply on Washington Avenue at Houston Avenue, is sponsoring its traditional raffle of a toy electric motorcycle.
“They’re a great sponsor of Blue Santa,” Mireles said. “This electric motorcycle is like a solo motorcycle unit with a windshield, siren and lights.”
The drawing for this special kid’s toy will take place at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 at Central Police Supply. The Blue Santa that day will be David Mireles.
Mireles said raffle tickets are on sale: one for $2, three for $5 and 15 for $20.