Christmas spirit blows blues away

David SalvaireGeraldton Guardian
Senior Constable Renai Gildersleeve shows off toys brought to Geraldton Police Station as part of Operation Blue Santa.
Camera IconSenior Constable Renai Gildersleeve shows off toys brought to Geraldton Police Station as part of Operation Blue Santa. Credit: David Salvaire

Organisers of Geraldton’s first Operation Blue Santa drive have been “blown away” by the response from the local community.

The program, run by Geraldton Police Station’s Family Protection Unit, aims to deliver presents to Mid West children and families in need this Christmas.

Already, more than 100 presents have been donated since the drive began late last month.

Senior Constable Renai Gildersleeve of the Family Protection Unit said she was amazed by the amount of presents that were streaming in.

“We put the flyer out to police staff initially but we knew how much need there was so we began distributing it to the wider community and we’ve been overwhelmed with the response,” she said. “We’ve got 98 children on our books so far and they’ll all be getting at least one gift.

“We’ve also got more names coming through from families as far as Meekatharra and Carnarvon, so we’re expecting to deliver presents to over 100 kids this Christmas.”

Operation Blue Santa started in Perth in 2013 and has spread across the State since then.

The children receiving presents, aged between one and 17, are nominated by various Government and non-Government agencies. Kylie from Chrysalis Support Services said the program would relieve some of the strain on families in need over the Christmas period.

“It will be wonderful for the kids but it will also mean less stress for the parents because (buying Christmas presents) can be a real burden for them,” she said.

A wide range of gifts have been handed in from handmade wooden toys to perfumes.

Senior Constable Gildersleeve said the public support meant the program would become an annual event.

“A lot of the children are involved in family domestic violence incidents and we are working to help and support them,” she said.

“Please keep the gifts coming in and we’ll make sure they go to the right families.”

Gifts from the public can be dropped at the front desk of the Geraldton Police Station until December 19.

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