“I thought that perhaps if it were brought to [the community’s] attention, maybe we could help the less fortunate children who live in Dunwoody and in the area,” he said.
This year, about 66 children are invited to the police department’s annual Christmas event where Santa will deliver gifts to the kids, he explained. The department does not publicly disclose the date or location in an effort to keep the celebration intimate.
“Each child will have a bag,” Espinoza said. “In that bag will be several toys chosen by their gender and by their age.”
Children were selected for the program on a first-come, first-serve basis. Families had to apply in advance. Espinoza said the children are always excited to receive the presents and their parents often express relief their children will not have to go without gifts. In addition to the children invited to the holiday party, the police will give toys to area organizations.
“We select two to three outside organizations that deal with kids and that have a connection to Dunwoody in some way and we donate boxes and boxes of new and unwrapped toys to these groups who then give it to the children that they serve,” Espinoza added.
To help make Christmas for Kids a success, the police partners with local businesses, churches and organizations that serve as locations where community members drop off gifts. Picayune Toys in the Williamsburg Shopping Center was one of about 25 locations this year.
“We are a neighborhood store and this is our neighborhood,” said Becky Goblish, store owner. “We like to help.”
Where to donate:
The Dunwoody Police Department will accept new, unwrapped gifts through Dec. 21 for newborns to children up to age 15 at police headquarters at 41 Perimeter Center East.