Children in Uvalde County benefitted from more than 1,200 Christmas gifts generated from separate efforts launched by the Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office.
The Uvalde Police Officers’ Association, which comprises the Uvalde Police Department employees and their families, organized the annual Operation Blue Santa toy drive; and the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office, with the U.S Marshals, U.S Border Patrol and Sabinal Police Department, organized the Santa Patrol toy drive.
Each event was geared toward supplying toys for children in need.
The Uvalde Police Department collected 700 toys for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District students 14 years old or younger. Toys were distributed Dec. 21 at the Willie De Leon Civic Center.
The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office collected over 500 toys, which were distributed between Dec. 20-23 to children outside of the Uvalde city limits but within the boundaries of Uvalde County.
UPD Lt. Mariano Pargas said the UPOA’s Blue Santa event was a great success due to many volunteers.
“It keeps getting bigger and better each year,” Pargas said, noting that several families who were not on the list showed up and the department was able to accommodate them.
“I enjoy seeing all the excited children when they meet Santa and receive gifts,” Pargas said.
“I want to thank all the supporters that help to make this a successful event.”
Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robert Gutierrez thanked sponsors and volunteers for their efforts.
“Santa Patrol would not be where it is today without them,” Gutierrez said.