A group of Santa’s helpers (Pasadena Police officers) on Saturday, December 21st coasted through town on sleighs (patrol cars) delivering Christmas to underserved families in the community, putting smiles on the faces of everyone involved.
The gesture, which involved 84 families, took place as part of agency’s annual gift giveaway campaign.
Sworn and civilian members of Pasadena PD and their families personally delivered the gifts, which were donated by the Salvation Army through Toys for Tots.
“You don’t know how much it means to the kids and to see law enforcement in a different light,” said Lt. Carolyn Gordon, who oversees the Community Services Unit.
Before loading up the patrol cars, Pasadena PD personnel gathered in the lobby of the police station, where Gordon thanked the officers for taking the time to spread a little Christmas cheer on their own time.
Santa Claus also participated, posing for selfies and group photos with every family he visited.
“When you go into someone’s house, you may have to give someone a hug,” Gordon said. “A hug will mean a lot. They may not have Christmas without you.”
The annual event has been taking place for at least 25 years, the lieutenant said.
Gordon recalls approaching a family with young children during Christmas season during her first year on the job.
She asked the children what gifts they would be receiving for Christmas.
“The kids were 8 and 9 and said, ‘we’re not having Christmas,’” Gordon said. “And I said, ‘oh yes you are.’”
Gordon wound up reaching into her own pocket to purchase gifts that year.
“For them to say, (they’re) not having a Christmas really broke my heart. “I made sure they got plenty of food and toys and I got Footlocker to donate shoes. I don’t do this to impress anybody. I do this because it makes me feel good and I realize that this is the season of giving. I always make sure I give back because I’m thankful for what has been given to me.”
Many of the families who received gifts are clients of the Salvation Army.
Yadira Sanchez, program coordinator for Pasadena PD, said the department started registering families in September.
Toys for Tots gives the gifts to the Salvation Army, who in turn, gives them to the police to deliver to needy families.
Gifts were then sorted by age and gender and then slotted for delivery
“It’s a lot of work but it’s worth because all the kids are just so happy,” Sanchez said.
The Pasadena Police Explorers also played a major role in delivering gifts.
“Just to know that I can help give a kid a wonderful Christmas puts a smile on my face,” Explorer Amaiya Drew said.