AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Christmas Bureau of Austin and Travis County and Operation Blue Santa had partnered for years to collect and distribute donations for families in need.
While police launch an investigation into the Christmas Bureau, much of their focus is now on getting donations into Blue Santa.
Organizers said they are only up to about 10 percent of their goal. Now that Blue Santa is taking on the work of the Christmas Bureau, they need even more.
Volunteers are hard at Work at Operation Blue Santa's warehouse headquarters in southeast Austin on South Industrial Drive.
"It's great to be able to get out together and to do something that makes a difference in the community," said Lance Lemanski, a volunteer at Blue Santa
Sorting donated items, wrapping them and getting them boxed up for delivery; it's a process they go through every year.
"We're just doing a small part," said volunteer Daniella Gould, "We're here for the day, and just helping out before Christmas."
But this Christmas season, Operation Blue Santa needs even more support.
"I am here this morning to really put out a call for help," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo Thursday morning.
He announced that Blue Santa would be taking over the responsibilities of the Christmas Bureau, after that organization failed to come through.
That means on top of the 15,000 kids Blue Santa is helping out this year, they're taking on an additional 6,000 families.
"Most people don't realize just how big the need is in the community," said Lemanski.
Volunteers like him are ready to do their part.
Gould's 4-year-old son Cy is even at the warehouse helping out. Even the smallest hands can pitch in.
"It makes me feel proud because I'm helping people. We are lucky," said Cy.
Angela Peer is a grandmother of three little ones and struggles just to put food on the table.
She said she is grateful to strangers who care enough to make sure others have a Merry Christmas.
"There are kids that are really counting on this and kids old enough to know this bureau is what's going to give them their presents, " Peer said.
APD hopes that the entire community in and around Austin will come together this year and make it count.
"Make this the biggest year. Every year we always say it's the biggest, you know what, this year, we're not only talking about the 15 thousand kids that we help, we're talking about 6,000 other folks that may not get help if everybody doesn't show up," Acevedo says.
For a list of toy drop off sites, you can visit: Blue Santa
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