TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Tyler police officers hosted their 2021 Blue Santa event on Tuesday.
Law enforcement met with families at the Walmart on Troup Highway and gave them a gift card so they could buy anything they wanted for Christmas.
“We grew from 15 or 20 kids to we’re going to have over 300 this year,” said Chuck Boyce with the Tyler Police Department.
The event became a tradition after a group of Tyler police officers launched it in 2007. However, police changed things up in 2019. They invited a photographer to take photos of the officer, the child and Blue Santa of course, and these were printed for families to keep.
“We are looking forward to the day one of our new rookies brings in a photograph from this event when they were a child,” wrote police.
Officers now also help provide backpacks for kids at the beginning of school and help buy them new coats during winter.
The first Blue Santa event was started in Austin in 1972. Two officers noticed that some families from the area did not have gifts or food for their children during Christmas. After this, the officers gave gifts to approximately 20 families from the back of their patrol vehicle.
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