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Santa, deputies deliver toys to Salvation Army
Yuma County deputies took some time off from crime fighting on Friday to escort Santa as he delivered presents to the Salvation Army for its Christmas Angel Tree program.
For the past several years, deputies and the sheriff's office civilian employees have provide some relief to Santa and his elves by buying and delivering gifts to the program, which then distributes them to less-fortunate children 12 years old or younger.
“They have just put a smile on a lot of children's faces. These are going directly to the children they were purchased for,” said Salvation Army Capt. Randy Hartt. “Besides keeping law and order and making us feel safe, they are able to do this extra thing for us and help out children by giving them a wonderful Christmas. It will not go unforgotten in these kids' minds and they are going to know where these gifts came from.”
More than 50 gifts — including new clothing, shoes, toys and bicycles — were delivered Friday. Hartt said they will all be wrapped and given to the children on Wednesday and Thursday.
Santa arrived in front of the Salvation Army store, 600 W. Catalina Drive, at about 3 p.m. riding the sheriff office's armored personnel carrier. Standing in the empty turret hole in the top of the vehicle, he waved at the many customers going in and out of the store who stopped to see what was going on and wished them all a merry Christmas.
Several deputies, a civilian employee and Salvation Army employees unloaded the presents packed inside the vehicle and carried them into the building.
Under the Christmas Angel Tree program, a child writes a Christmas wish list on a card, which is then hung from a tree somewhere, such as a mall, in the hope that someone passing by would pick a card from the tree and buying one of the gifts written on it.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.