Santas in blue give cheer to children

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Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
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Sergeant Shilo O'Neill, front, Alison Adam and Kylie from Desert Blue Connect, Sergeant Renai Gildersleeve, Lynley Graham of Department of Communities, Tracie McGiffin-Singh of Mission Australia, Andrew Horstman and Christine Dobson of Midwest Charity Begins At Home and children from the charity’s youth group.
Camera IconSergeant Shilo O'Neill, front, Alison Adam and Kylie from Desert Blue Connect, Sergeant Renai Gildersleeve, Lynley Graham of Department of Communities, Tracie McGiffin-Singh of Mission Australia, Andrew Horstman and Christine Dobson of Midwest Charity Begins At Home and children from the charity’s youth group. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian, Adam Poulsen The Geraldton Guardian

Hundreds of children in need across the Mid West will receive gifts on Christmas morning thanks to the generosity of Mid West-Gascoyne police, local charities and the community.

Operation Blue Santa will see the Mid West-Gascoyne Family Protection Unit team up with staff from the Department of Communities, Midwest Charity Begins at Home, Desert Blue Connect and Mission Australia to donate gifts to families who have been victims of domestic violence.

This Christmas will mark the second time Operation Blue Santa has been held in the Mid West.

Mid West-Gascoyne District Police family violence co-ordinator Sergeant Shilo O’Neill said last year’s operation was an “overwhelming success”, with 391 children across the district receiving gifts. She said officers frequently dealt with crisis situations involving children exposed to domestic violence and saw the consequences first-hand.

“This is WA Police’s way of brightening up the lives of children in need as a result of domestic violence for a day during the festive season,” Sgt O’Neill said.

“This year the Family Protection Unit has gained another partnership in Midwest Charity Begins At Home, who will assist with the sorting and wrapping of the gifts.”

Since it was established in the metropolitan area in 2013, Operation Blue Santa has gone from strength to strength.

In its first year, 165 children received gift bags. That number rose to 198 the following year, and stood at 216 in 2015.

To donate gifts to Operation Blue Santa, drop them off at Geraldton Police Station.

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