Blue Santa Toy Drive collects hundreds for children

By Alexandra Shipley


University of the Incarnate Word collected hundreds of toys for the Blue Santa Toy Drive, most of them coming in Nov. 16 at the final home football game.

People were asked to bring one or more unwrapped toys and place them in the donation bins at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium. Those who did received free admission to the game as well as a raffle ticket for a $100 gift basket to UIW’s bookstore.

The Blue Santa Toy Drive started in San Antonio in 1976 when a few officers from the San Antonio Police Department’s Community Relations Unit “adopted” families during Christmas. The officers would bring groceries and Christmas presents to the families since the parents could not afford them. These police officers became known as “Blue Santas,” and the Blue Santa Toy Drive was born.

This year, SAPD officers and volunteers will assemble the gifts, wrap and label them, and make sure the appropriate gift is delivered to each child on the Blue Santa list.

Officers who have submitted nominations of needy children deliver the packages to the families. Usually an officer dressed in the “Blue Santa” costume accompanies the police officers on deliveries.

At UIW, many students were given extra credit in their Dimensions of Wellness classes if they brought 10 toys to the drive. These toys were to be collected from family members and friends, equaling 10 toys for each student.

“Thinking of how amazing I am making someone else’s Christmas makes all the difference,” said UIW student Miguel Velez. “I have always loved giving back to my community, even if it’s something small. I feel accomplished, and I know I won’t be there to see how happy they are, but I am wishing them the best Christmas they’ve ever had.”

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