Arizona police officers make Christmas extra bright for kids

Dec 23, 2021, 4:45 AM

PHOENIX — For more than three decades, police officers in Arizona have been making Christmas extra bright for kids.

It’s all thanks to the Blue Santa Toy Giveaway, which W. Steven Martin started 36 years ago. It allows officers to give toys to kids who may otherwise go without a Christmas gift.

“The gifts are for boys and girls that they’ve met either through a school resource program or they’ve been to their home for a burglary call,” he said.

As part of the toy giveaway, officers are welcome to adopt one or two families. They fill out a registration form listing how many kids are in each family and their ages. They’re also asked how they found the family and the impact they believe the gifts will have on the family.

Each child gets up to four toys, which the officers pick up a few days before Christmas.

“This gives them (officers) an opportunity to come in and pick up their emotions and their smiles and the reason why they chose that profession,” Martin said. “It also changes the way the children and many of the families see them.”

Officers who do not fill out a registration form on time can still pick up toys from a warehouse in Glendale.

Mesa police Sgt. Dave Meicke was among the officers who stopped by the warehouse Wednesday. He and another officer picked up toys for a family of seven children.

“It would be heartbreaking to think of kids waking up and having nothing to open, so it’s nice to be able to help families out,” he said.

The Blue Santa Toy Giveaway is part of the larger 911 Toy Drive, which has resulted in about 25,000 police officers and firefighters delivering nearly 7 million toys to kids statewide.

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Arizona police officers make Christmas extra bright for kids