Q: How does the city's Operation Santa select families to receive gifts?
A: Every year the police department donates toys to families who don’t have enough to go around. “Operation Santa” accepts donations that will go to Gulfport families. According to Francine Whitten, a police department employee who has long helped with Operation Santa, the volunteers put out a notice for people in need to come sign up for Operation Santa. Officers who know of families in need also give those names to Operation Santa volunteers. The volunteers then set up a bag for toys for the family.
“When we get toys we put them in their bag and they come and get them,” she says. “If we have extra we call people back for a second bag.”
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