Jan 162010
Authors: Sara Michael

This holiday season, as most of the globe prepares for peace on earth and goodwill to men, holiday cheer comes from what some might consider an unlikely source: the police department.

For more than 20 years, Fort Collins Police Services, the Loveland Police Department, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado State Patrol and the CSU Police Department have all helped bring holiday cheer to Larimer County in the form of Santa Cops, an organization that collects funds and gifts for underprivileged children in the area.

This year’s next holiday fundraiser will take place at Chuck E. Cheese’s, on the corner of College Avenue and Prospect Road, tomorrow between 3 and 10 p.m, and anyone who mentions Santa Cops during this period will receive 10 extra game tokens. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will go to Santa Cops.

CSUPD Officer Debbie Tellez has been involved with Santa Cops for three years, and said she is getting more and more involved every year.

“It means a lot to me because there’s such a need for underprivileged children,” she said. “We give them Christmas.”

Although its peak work is during the holiday season, Santa Cops raises funds throughout the year with events such as craft sales, golf tournaments and auctions. Many local businesses donate their time to helping Santa Cops as well, according to the organization’s Web site.

Wal-mart is one such business.

“We’ve been involved since we can remember,” said Wal-mart employee Rebeccah Shields. The superstore holds a toy drive every Christmas and she said it often successful. Wal-mart’s drive began two weeks ago.

“We’re really grateful for our support from the community,” Tellez said.

Although Santa Cops has never held an event at Chuck E. Cheese’s, Tellez said she is hopeful. Santa Cops tries as many avenues as possible, she said, to get as many funds as possible.

Tellez also said that CSU has a special involvement in this program.

“A lot of people forget that we deliver to on-campus families, too. For some people, campus doesn’t just shut down over the holidays,” she said. “We gave gifts to more than 3,500 children last year.”

This year, she said, the need is great, but Santa Cops will do what it can with the donations it receives. The expected delivery date for this year’s gifts is Dec. 19.

Staff writer Sara Michael can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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