APD’s Operation Blue Santa Breakfast raises thousands for annual holiday gift donations

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Who said Santa Claus has to only wear red?

The Austin Police Department hosted their Operation Blue Santa Breakfast Friday morning. The goal of the breakfast is to raise money for Operation Blue Santa, the annual program led by APD to deliver presents to under privileged children over the holiday season.

This year’s breakfast was hosted by radio personality Bob Cole from KOKE-FM and featured live music and an appearance from the big man himself, Santa Claus.

Fourth and fifth graders from Perez Elementary cheered for Blue Santa. This is the first year they’ve done this.

“This is a huge honor to be able to do this. To be able to go out into our community, to give back time and time again, but especially in the holiday season,” said the Blue Santa. “People may be stressed, maybe dealing with some financial difficulty… Be able to really go out there and help bring about a little bit of joy, ease that stress and burden this holiday season. It is seriously what this job is about.”

Attendees at the breakfast were able to bid on special auction items such as autographed magazine covers featuring Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, signed posters of Houston Astros star Jose Altuve and COACH handbags.

Robert Smith donated $50,000 to the operation.

“You think about growing up in a community where there were always needs and you see community organizations like Operation Blue Santa that understands on-the-ground needs, and they need effort and resources to really help those communities,” said billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith who donated $50,000.

As of 8:30 a.m. the breakfast raised over $79,000.

Delivery day for Operation Blue Santa is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14.

The 8:30 a.m. fundraising total Friday morning. Volunteers say this amount is a lot more than past years.

Operation Blue Santa was started in 1972 by two APD officers who wanted to make a difference in their community during the holidays. When they noticed that some of the families around them would not have food or gifts at Christmas time, they began their operation out of the back of a patrol car, serving 20 families.

Today, the program serves over 6,000 households and 15,000 children. To learn more, visit their website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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