BY SARAH STEPHENS, OWNER/EDITOR
For Millbrook Area families having tough financial times this year, who are worried about providing Christmas gifts to their children, help is available through a Millbrook Police Department program.
Operation Blue Santa was established several years ago, as a way to provide Christmas gifts for children who may go without through no fault of their own. Over the years since its inception the program has grown tremendously, both in the number of children who benefit, as well as local, community support, according to Millbrook Police Chief P.K. Johnson.
“This was the brainchild of Lt. Don Pugh, who has the biggest heart for helping others,” Chief Johnson said. “And to be honest about it, when he first brought up the idea I really just wasn’t confident we could make it work. But I underestimated greatly the generosity of Millbrook and our residents, churches, organizations and businesses.”
Today the program begins with an application, which can be picked up at the Millbrook Police Department. Applications will be available through the end of November, but must be completed and turned back in by Nov. 30. The applications are processed on a first come, first served basis.
This is available for the first 200 kids ages one through 12. Bicycles will be limited in availability and will be given on a first come first served basis.
Please, do not request video games, electronics or high dollar items.
“We have already had tremendous support this year, with fundraisers from the Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club and others like the American Legion Post 133, Guardian Credit Union, Front Porch Grill, Dollar General, Golden Hammer Auction, and Welcome Inc.” Chief Johnson said. “All of these agencies, and others, are conducting their own Operation Blue Santa Toy Drives. I just cannot tell you how it restores my faith in humanity every time a toy is dropped off, a donation is made, or another agency steps up to help.”
Johnson first came to the Millbrook Police Department as a slick sleeved officer in 1996, and in all that time he said officers have stood up to help area families in need, but on a much smaller basis.
“A lot of us would pool out money and try to help families we knew needed help at Christmas time,” he said. “We come into contact with a lot of people, so we always had a good idea where we could best help. But with this program, it is expanded on a huge scale. It has been so well received by the public and the community and it is something that everyone in our department is so proud to participate in every year.”
The cutoff for donations of gifts is Dec. 13 for drop off.