Santa’s Here: Brownsville police annual toy drive underway
The arrival of Blue Santa on Thursday at the Walmart on Boca Chica Boulevard officially kicked off the Brownsville Police Department’s annual Christmas for Kids campaign with a toy drive.
Interim Police Chief James Paschall greeted community partners and fellow BPD officers outside the Walmart on Boca Chica while giant inflatable Christmas trees and toys surrounded them.
“This is a staple of the Brownsville Police Department,” Paschall said. “We’ve been doing this for decades now. It started as an idea, and it’s developed into a lot more than just handing out toys on Christmas. We focus our whole year around this.”
The Brownsville Police Department and local community partners, which include Walmart, Mr. Gatti’s Pizza and Charlie Clark Nissan, have placed boxes outside their business for residents to donate toys, which will be given to more than 4,000 children on Dec. 15.
“For some of these kids, this is their Christmas,” Paschall said. “It’s really a great experience to be a part of that with them.”
This is Walmart’s second year hosting the police department’s Christmas for Kids campaign.
Victor Bravo, co-manager of the Walmart on Boca Chica Boulevard, his staff is excited and happy to help once more.
Bravo said the store’s goal is to reach $10,000 worth of toys.
“A big part in that goal is our associates,” he said. “A lot of them are donating money of their own, as well as our management team, to reach that goal.”
To attend the toy giveaway on Dec. 15, residents must visit the police station and pick up tickets from 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. the week of the event, which will be between Dec. 10 and 14.
Parents must provide proof of age for children 12 and younger.
BPD officer Manuel Montes said although the department has never ran out of tickets early in the past, they are distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Montes said 4,000 tickets will be available for pick up.
He added the police department will also give toys to special needs children at BISD elementary schools as well as communities across Brownsville and hospitals on Christmas.
“It’s a beautiful view when we see the children’s expression in their eyes and emotion they show when they receive a toy and they get to choose what they want,” he said. “Sometimes, they can’t get anything, so for them to be able to pick their own toy that they want, you can’t describe that.”