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The Buzz
Volunteers, donations needed

BuzzHIGH SPRINGS – Santa is coming to High Springs a little early – and he’ll be dressed in blue.

The High Springs Police Department (HSPD) has been hosting Operation Holiday Cheer for the past few winters. Through the department’s toy drive, officers collect donations to bring holiday joy to High Springs families in need.

HSPD Chief William Benck has been participating for two years. He said it's a project the community really gets behind. The city commission gets involved and the city’s public works department donates a truck that gets decorated especially for the occasion.

“It’s just a way of spreading good tidings,” he said. “Folks that are having a hard time get help from those who are blessed to be doing alright.”

The department is accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys, pajamas, books and money. Donations can be dropped off at the police station, located at 110 NW 2nd Avenue in High Springs until Dec. 16 at 4:30 p.m.

Benck said the department puts the donations in large Santa bags that they deliver to each family’s home. If they receive money, he and office staff find out the ages of the children and go out and purchase presents they think each kid would like. He said it is amazing how many donations they receive.

“It took hours, literally hours, to wrap them last year.”

The police department is looking for a few good elves who would be willing to help wrap the gifts.  Volunteers are asked to contact Office Assistant Angi Robertson at 386-454-1415. Wrapping paper and supply donations would also be greatly appreciated.

The department visits about a dozen families with these gifts. And they are still accepting names of families for consideration for donations.

Uniformed officers will make the special deliveries on Dec. 20. For Benck, that visit makes the hours of wrapping and buying gifts worth it.

“I remember last year there was this little boy, and he was so excited,” he said. “He read a book back to me that we gave him, and he wanted me to read one to him. His whole face lit up. It made my Christmas.”