Whoever said Santa Claus isn’t real obviously hasn’t spent very much time with the law enforcement officers of Larimer County.
The Colorado State Patrol, CSU Police Department, Fort Collins Police Services, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Loveland Police Department are banding together to form the Santa Cops of Larimer County. Santa Cops is an organization of local law enforcement personnel providing gifts for children in underprivileged homes.
The Santa Cops began in 1986 and have been working in the community ever since. All donations stay exclusively in the Larimer County area and the program strives not only to give children gifts for Christmas, but also to give them a positive experience with police officers. Applications from needy families are due Friday and uniformed officers will deliver three gifts to each needy child on Dec. 21.
The officers, along with many volunteers from the Butch Cassidy Club, had their 12th annual Family County Christmas luncheon and auction at the Sundance Sunday. The festivities raised $10,283. All of the money will go towards purchasing toys, clothes and other presents for the children. Butch Cassidy Club volunteer Gloria Keys said helping out at the event allows her to feel like one of Santa’s little helpers.
The Santa cops program gave to 3,728 children in the Larimer County area last year and expects at least 4,000 this year to the sluggish recent economy. The program is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers and a 20 member volunteer board of directors meets year-round to keep the program running.
“I am very impressed with it and I believe in it 100 percent,” said Doris Butler, a board member and volunteer policewoman in Loveland. “It is such a wonderful program.”
Groups around the Larimer County community have reserved time to assist the Santa Cops in purchasing and wrapping presents all week at the Cloverleaf Dog Track. Thanks to overwhelming community support, the Santa Cops have booked a full load of hundreds of volunteers this year.
“We had kids wrapping gifts on the floor there were so many people,” Butler said. “It does my heart good to see it.”
Betsy Neil, Santa Cops treasurer and accounting supervisor at the Larimer County Sheriff’s office, said community members interested in the program could provide the most help at this point by purchasing toys and leaving them at any of the drop off locations.
Fort Collins Drop Off Locations:
3832 S Interstate 25
214 D Green Hall
Fort Collins Police Services
300 La Porte Ave.
Larimer County Sheriff”s Office
200 W. Oak St.
Larimer County Justice Center`
201 La Porte Ave.
11 N. College Ave.
Holiday Inn I-25
3836 E Mulberry St.
Mountain View Tires
148 E Foothills Pkwy.
319 Meldrum St.
700 Whalers Wy.
2545 Research Blvd.
2160 W Drake Rd.
Old Square Square
United Capital Mortgage
1015 W Horsetooth Rd.
4625 S Mason St.
344 Foothills Pkwy. #2