Since 1995, the Grapevine Police Santa Cops program has delivered Christmas joy to children who might otherwise not receive any presents, making Christmas wishes come true for over 800 area children each year.
This year, however, the Santa Cops program needs additional help as they are thousands of toys short of fulfilling those Christmas wishes in 2022. Damaris Fernandez, a former Santa Cops recipient who now volunteers with the program, told ABC News this year’s Christmas gift coffer is far from full.
“Stepping into the room and seeing that it’s really empty, it does give you that little pinch in the heart, like, ooh, what happened?” Fernandez told ABC News.
About 90% of the toys generally come from an annual baseball tournament, but it was rained out this year. The rainout left the Santa Cops warehouse nearly empty.
To bring in more donations, the police department hosted a drive-thru toy drive at the Grapevine Public Safety building Tuesday night. The toys had to be new and unwrapped.
Officer Margie Salame, now retired, founded the Grapevine Police Santa Cops program in 1995, according to the program’s website.
Local donations entirely support Santa Cops. Grapevine police officers, their families, and community volunteers organize and carry out the program.
“Santa Cops would be non-existent without the extreme generosity of the people of this great community,” Grapevine PD explained.
“I can’t imagine how many kids, [when they] wake up on Christmas, not have any gifts,” Fernandez said, “but I’m hopeful the community will come together and just say, ‘We got this, we can do this.'”
Santa Cops began accepting gift contributions earlier this month. Monetary donations are also accepted during regular business hours at the Grapevine Public Safety Building.
Additionally, people can drop toys off at the following locations:
- Grapevine Public Safety Building
- City Hall
- The REC
- Palace Theatre
- Hotel Vin
- Chill Grapevine
- Grapevine Runners Club
- D-Bat Southlake
Anyone interested in volunteering to wrap toys can sign up for one of the scheduled wrapping nights in December. Wrapping nights in 2022 will take place from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on three evenings: Tuesday, December 6; Thursday, December 8; and Tuesday, December 13.
Wrapping will occur at Santa Cops’ toy shop in Grapevine, located at 1217 SH-114, Suite 100 (near the Target shopping center.) Sign-up for wrapping nights is currently open, but volunteers must register in advance.
Fernandez, a single mother, said she knows firsthand the difference this program makes.
“It’s like, ‘Thank you, Lord,'” she told ABC News. “‘I can give my daughters a gift under the tree.'” She remembered and appreciated “not having to go through that whole struggle of [thinking], ‘I don’t think I can afford this or not.'”
Sergeant Bobby Smith can be reached at 817-410-3252 for more information on gift-giving or assisting the Grapevine Police Santa Cops program.