New Carrollton Police Department officials said the Santa with a Badge program, where officers help children in need purchase Christmas gifts for themselves and family members, was a resounding success.
Chief David G. Rice said 15 children from New Carrollton schools participated in the event Dec. 15 at the Lanham Target, and each was given $150 in money donated by city residents to spend. The department solicits applications from the city’s elementary schools, and tries to choose three or four students from each school.
After the shopping trip, officers drive the children to the city municipal center, where they help the children wrap the gifts. Rice said it was heartwarming to watch the children go through the aisles, picking out toys for themselves and their loved ones.
“It’s great to see the expressions on the kids’ faces when they get up to the register, and it hits them that the toys are theirs to take home,” Rice said. “And they don’t just buy for themselves. A lot of what they got were for their brothers and sisters.”