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Santa Cops of Larimer County provide holiday gifts to underprivileged children

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A variety of new, donated toys sit on a table in the Coldwell Banker building in Loveland, CO as a part of a fundraiser for Santa Cops, an organization that gives to children of families in need during the holiday season. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)
A variety of new, donated toys sit on a table in the Coldwell Banker building in Loveland, CO as a part of a fundraiser for Santa Cops, an organization that gives to children of families in need during the holiday season. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)

It is that time of the year again; lights are shining, bells are ringing, carolers are caroling and the Santa Cops of Larimer County are delivering presents to children.

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The Santa Cops of Larimer County is a non-profit program made up of Fort Collins Police Services, Loveland Police Department, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado State University Police. Together, and with the help of  volunteers and organizations, Santa Cops is able to gather, package and deliver gifts for children within Larimer County for the holiday season.

“One of the purposes of Santa Cops is to provide presents to children who may not be able to receive any presents for the holiday season,” said Billy Gentry, the co-chairman of the Santa Cops board. “Another purpose is to provide a positive experience between law enforcement and people in the community.”

Santa Cops was established in 1987 and every year the program fundraises, hosts craft sales, toy drives and accepts donations in order to provide each family that signed up for the program with three gifts per child.

“After Thanksgiving we hold application day, where families who feel like they need some help with Christmas in general for their kids could come in and apply,” Gentry said. “There is no income requirement. The only documentation required is address verification, birth certificate of the child and information about the child such as their age and what they like.”

This past Saturday, Santa Cops hosted a toy drive at Coldwell Banker in Loveland.

“Many families get together and donate toys to families in need,” said Duane Penny, a volunteer at the toy drive. “It’s the best thing for these families to see their children smile.”

Gena Berton, an office employee at Coldwell Banker, said that the organization has been doing the toy drive with Santa Cops for about 10 years now.

“Individuals come in, drop off their toys, get their picture taken with Santa and enjoy some hot dogs we have made for lunch,” Berton said.

John Bruno, a community member, and his family were also at the Santa Cops toy drive and have been donating to the cause for nine years.

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“It is just a nice thing to give back to the community and is what Christmas is all about,” Bruno said.

Collegian Reporter Amanda Thompson can be reached at news@collegian.com or @amanduhh3003.

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