VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Valdosta police and fire departments surprised kids on Christmas Eve morning with gifts.
Officers and employees gave them some early Christmas presents.
The organizer told WALB she feared “Police Santa” wasn’t going to happen this year.
“In the beginning of the month, we were a little worried and officer Handcock kept telling me keep the faith, it’s going to be a Christmas miracle. And luckily, we had a Christmas miracle today, we’re making all these kids happy,” said Capt. Kari Williams, who is the organizer of Police Santa.
Valdosta police and fire departments visited about seven neighborhoods around the city on Christmas Eve.
A yearly tradition that makes kids very happy.
“You know, It’s been a tough year for everyone and we could see that in the donations,” said Williams.
She said this year, money and toy donations weren’t coming in.
Williams said in the past, they’ve partnered up with Valdosta Cinema, but since the theater is struggling during COVID, they were falling short.
“And I know a lot of kids know that we’ve done this for six years because, throughout the week, people were saying ‘Are you coming? Are you coming?’ And I had to tell them no,” said Williams.
Luckily, community members stepped up and came to the rescue.
Williams said between money donated by an employee in the department, a friend who works at Barnes Drugs and Charlie Barnes, himself, they were able to save Santa Police this year.
With the money donations, they were able to buy all the toys for the kids.
“I feel great because a lot of parents can’t afford to get their kids something for Christmas, so it’s wonderful what everybody is doing,” said Iesha Parson, who lives in the area and has two little ones.
Parson said she’s grateful that they provide gifts for the kids and help the parents.
“We kind of had the idea seven years ago, when it was just kind of off the cuff, we did it. We were walking around with Santa and these little girls, we rounded the corner at Hudson Dockett and three little girls apparently got word that Santa was there and we rounded the corner and the three little girls in their pajamas are jumping up and down in their bare feet screaming, so excited. And I was like ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to keep doing this every year,” said Williams.