The presents went to Bay County children in the foster care system. Many of the families that received gifts could not afford gifts for the children.
“We’re here, we’re going to help you in the worst times,” Panama City Police Department Lieutenant Chris Taylor said. “But then in the best times that we have in life, such as in Christmas, we’re going to step up and even go further to help make sure you have and want everything that you desire.”
The department partnered with Twin Oaks and Northwest Florida Network — who oversee many of the children in foster care throughout Bay County.
“These kids have went through a lot of trauma, and it’s just nice for the community to come together and help support these kids,” Julie Moulder, the dependency program manager at Twin Oaks said.
Last year the department gave gifts to around 120 kids. But the need in Bay County increased this past year.
“A lot of our families have already reached out to us saying ‘I need help,’” Moulder said. “You know, ‘what can you help me with?’ This is just another opportunity for the community to be able to help support these families.”
This was the second year that the Panama City Police Department has hosted its ‘Blue Santa’ event. Gifts were provided by donations from community members.