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EPS Blue Santa Program Continues to Deliver!

17-Dec-2021

‘Tis the season to help create Christmas miracles for less fortunate families in Edmonton communities.


 

‘Tis the season to help create Christmas miracles for less fortunate families in Edmonton communities.

 

EPS officers are sharing in the holiday spirit by participating, once again, in the annual Blue Santa program.  In collaboration with Santas Anonymous, uniformed members from all divisions are volunteering their time to bring presents to families in need.

 

“The Blue Santa program is very important to us at Santas Anonymous,” says Executive Director Angel Benedict, sharing her appreciation.  “We have a lot of gifts to deliver, so we really welcome the help.”

 

Since early December, participating officers have been busy picking up gifts from the Santas Anonymous Depot and making deliveries while on their breaks, in between calls, or during slower periods. 

 

This will be the fourth year that Constable Jacqueline Nelson from Northeast Division has participated in the program.  “Working with Santas Anonymous and Blue Santa gives officers a chance to do something positive in the community.  It’s a great way to spread cheer especially at this time of year.”

 


 

The idea for Blue Santa originated from a conversation that took place in 1997 between former Santas Anonymous Director Gary Draeger and Inspector Robinder Gill who was a constable at South Division at the time.  

 

Draeger expressed the challenges volunteers were experiencing year after year such as feeling unsafe or getting lost in unfamiliar parts of the city, which hindered gift deliveries to areas where help was needed most.  In these circumstances, the gifts were returned to the Depot and left undelivered.

 

EPS members on the other hand, were well-acquainted with these neighbourhoods, and Gill immediately recognized an opportunity where EPS could help.   

 

Delivering gifts for Santas Anonymous is just one side of it,” explains Inspector Gill.  “When you knock on a door and come face to face with people you’ve encountered before, quite often in a crisis, the response is overwhelming.” 

 

“Because officers are now making the heart-warming house calls to deliver gifts and smiles, you see people’s reactions go from one end of the spectrum to the other.  It gives police officers the opportunity to have positive interactions with people – especially the children who get the gifts.”

 

Benedict confirms this adding, “When kids see a police officer come to the door, they get really excited.  They are excited about the uniform and the patrol car.  They see it as a really positive thing that usually comes with a lot of additional excitement.”

 

Sharing the holiday spirit enables EPS officers and community members to see each other in a different light, and these simple interactions go a long way in fostering positive relationships and laying a foundation to build trust.

 

Twenty-four years later, the Blue Santa program continues to be a success as a direct result of the many EPS members who have chosen to participate each year. 

 

We are grateful for their ongoing dedication to the community and helping to deliver the spirit of Christmas!

 

The Blue Santa program is just one of the many ways EPS members are sharing the joy of the season with those who need it most.  Please follow EPS on social media to learn more about these ongoing charitable initiatives.