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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Annual Santa Cops wrapping event may look different, but still delivers

Annual Santa Cops wrapping event may look different, but still delivers

Santa Claus is still coming to town.  Actually, “Santa Cops” are still coming to town. The annual program where 100 kids are chosen by Police Department officers, city staff, educators, and city residents, to receive gifts from corporate and private donors, continues this year. Although it looks a bit different.

“Because of COVID-19, we had to adjust our operations, however, we are still delivering over 600 gifts to families in need in our city,” said Investigator Cheri Spottke.

The children sponsored to be a part of the Santa Cops program were identified by School Resources Officers and have been through tough times, such as having lost parents, been victims of crimes, are homeless or their parents lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The kids range in age from newborn to 17-years old.

The Westminster Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, and several corporate and private donors, each purchase a coat, shoes, a shirt, pants, books and toys for the children. Due to the public health crisis, many donors opted to donate gift cards or make cash donations. The alumni association and staff then purchased the gifts.

In addition, a Westminster resident made and donated face masks for kids and adults.

This year, gift wrapping was a bit different. Volunteers were staggered with just eight people wrapping in two hour shifts over four days at City Park Recreation Center, staying socially-distanced with surfaces frequently sanitized.

“It’s a big project to identify the families, contact them so we can get gifts tailored to the kids’ interests, make sure each kid has all the gifts when we wrap, then deliver them,” said School Resources Officer Charles Gonzales.

“Once the gifts are wrapped, they are delivered in one night by our officers,” said Spottke. “The School Resource Officers know the kids and the families’ circumstances, so this event is not only an opportunity to do some outreach and check in with them, but also a happy time to deliver some gifts the kids aren’t expecting.”

“A big thanks to Investigator Spottke for making Santa Cops a success!” said Gonzales. “And thanks to our wrapping volunteers and the community for supporting the families once again this year.”

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