Each year children across the nation are displaced from their families for several different reasons. Many of which, are no fault of their own. When this happens during the holiday season, the toll it can take on a child is huge. But the Wichita Falls Police Department is working to take away some of the suffering of these children with the Cops, Kids and Christmas campaign.
"Some of these kids that we deliver to, they've never had a Christmas or they just have no Christmas experience. They don't know what Christmas is about or what it means," Officer Jeff Hughes said.
The annual event held by the police department serves children at the Children's Aid Society in Wichita Falls.
"This is one of the most meaningful parties that we have, specifically because many times our children meet law enforcement in a negative time in their life. So they're often taught to be afraid of law enforcement so this is where law enforcement really shines," Sheila Choate, Executive Director of Children's Aid Society of West Texas Incorporated said.
Here's how it works. The Wichita Falls Police Department asks the public for donations, mostly of the monetary kind. Then a few days before the kids get out of school for the Christmas break, officials with the police department go shopping with a list of things these children want and need.
"On the big day, which is usually the Friday that school gets out for Christmas break, we go to the Children's Aid Society and we deliver these gifts to the children. We take Santa Claus with us and an elf and Santa Claus actually gives them their presents," Officer Hughes said.
While it takes mere seconds for younger children to warm up to Saint Nick, Choate said she enjoys watching the older one's let their guard down.
"I always like to watch my struggling teenagers. Teenagers who've really made bad life choices and their families made bad life choices, to see that hardened teenager with that really angry, frustrated you know edgy look on their face get a gift from Santa and turn around and smile," Choate said.
If you'd like to make a donation, it can be done in person or by mail to the Police and Fire Training Center located at 710 Flood Street in Wichita Falls. If you are mailing your donation, make sure to specify that it is for the Cops, Kids and Christmas campaign.
If you'd like to make a donation of any kind to the Children's Aid Society you can do so in person or by mail at 1101 30th Street.
Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6