For more than two decades, the Cedar Park Police Department has led the way on a Blue Santa program that grows every year.
Last year, Cedar Park’s Blue Santa served more than 250 families, including the efforts of much of the city staff, police department and community contributions to make it all come together.
“We can’t do this without the community,” said Officer David Amidon. “It’s like anything we do, without the community, it doesn’t happen.”
Putting smiles on so many young faces is not easy, but something those involved would not trade for anything.
“This is my favorite project I do because it is our chance to give back to the community that supports us so much.” said Sergeant Jessie Campbell. “This is what it’s all about.”
The need for such programs grows every year, which means the need for donations grows. The officers, who are always in contact with the community, know it is not always easy to see the need, but it is there.
“There’s a huge need,” Campbell said. “There are a lot of families out there who are less fortunate. Our goal is to put a smile on those kids’ faces and brighten their Christmas. It is a nice community and I think sometimes people might look over that need.”
Amidon added that all the circumstances in families’ lives are not often so easy to see.
“We never know exactly what someone’s situation is. Someone could be out of a job, there are a lot of variables to it.” he said.
The department is promoting the sign-up process
for families and taking donations. There are a number of sign up opportunities, and while the application can be found on the department’s website, all sign ups must be done in person on one of the specified dates: Nov. 27 and 30 or Dec.3 and 9.
The other side of the program is gathering gifts and donations to meet the needs of so many families.
“We’re getting out there, putting information out,” Campbell said. “We have hand out Dec. 17. We need the toys before then.”
Donation drop off spots are located all over Cedar Park, primarily at area shopping locations, and a complete list is located on the department’s website.
Monetary donations can also be made through Paypal on the website. The funds allow gifts to be purchased where gaps are seen in age groups.
“It is important because we cover a little bit older kids too,” Amidon said. “We don’t get a lot of things for them, so if we are able to get them gift cards, what have you, we are able to accommodate them.”
As with older kids, donations – of toys and money – are needed for the youngest.
“The same goes for infants, they kind of get left out,” Campbell said. “We use those funds for both the babies and the older kids.”
Amidon said people wishing to donate toys should remember that only new, unwrapped toys can be accepted.
Cedar Park Police Department
911 Quest Parkway
Families must register in person.
Applications can be found online at www.cedarparktexas.gov.
Dates for Registration:
Nov. 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Nov. 30, 5-8:30 p.m.
Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dec. 9, 5-8:30 p.m.
Donations of new toys and cash are accepted through Dec. 9.
Toy handout day is Dec. 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Blue Santa Information Hotline: 512-260-4646 or 512-260-4864