Members of the Turlock Police Department are making their way around town armed with a list, but this time it’s those on the “nice” side and not the “naughty” that they are seeking.
Friday marked the final day of Operation Blue Santa — a program that is delivering some Christmas cheer to families in need of some good tidings. Operation Blue Santa began in 2012 with the mission of providing toys and other donated items to families in need, while also providing holiday safety tips.
The children that benefit from Operation Blue Santa are referred to the department through various means and the families are contacted in advance to get a better idea of what the children need and want, said Crime Prevention Officer Michelle Backeroff, who spearheads the program. The donated toys and cash donations are used to make those wishes come true.
Through the holiday season Blue Santa makes visits to children throughout Turlock. In the final days the Operation begins wrapping and delivering all the toys and other donations. This season Operation Blue Santa is visiting an estimated 50 families and providing toys to about 150 children, Backeroff said.
This year Operation Blue Santa also partnered with the Turlock Fire Department’s Random Acts of Kindness program to bring some holiday cheer to a Turlock teenager battling cancer. They learned of the teen through the Stanford Cancer Center and were able to provide the teenager with clothes, toys, and gift cards to help with medical expenses.