As the holiday season inches closer, the Wylie Police Department is hosting two programs designed to ensure the holidays are a positive experience for residents.
Its first program is Operation Blue Santa, one that has been run since the mid-1990s and provides gifts for children and seniors in the Wylie community. Community Relations Officer Alexandra Waters said Operation Blue Santa is similar to an Angel Tree program where individuals pick up a tag and return it with the requested items.
The program is a way to change up the regular interactions between residents and their police department, which is not always a positive experience.
“It humanizes us and gives the community an opportunity to see us in a different light,” Waters said. “Sometimes when we interact with families, it is not the best of news. This is an opportunity for us as well to be able to have that positive interaction and that giving spirit.”
To be included in Operation Blue Santa, senior citizens and children in the area are referred by department officers, the department’s Crime Victim Advocate, Kisha Voss or the department’s Mental Health Coordinator, Haley Chandler.
This year, the program is focusing more on teenagers and senior citizens, said Waters, because it can be easier to purchase needed items for younger kids and there is a greater focus on them.
“There’s so many different types of fundraisers done in the community for kids,” Waters said. “We’re trying to meet the needs of people whose needs typically go unmet.”
Typically, donated goods may include a toy, clothing or hygiene items depending on the individual requests on each tag.
For the full story, see the Dec. 7 issue of The Wylie News.