No 'blues' for children in Wharton after special Santa visit

- You can't blame them for opening their presents early, right? After all, the last two days before Christmas take forever in child time. Opening them early wasn't the only special thing about this for them. It's how they got delivered. They came in a police car with lights and sirens activated, and Santa Claus in the passenger's seat. But he's not wearing the traditional red...he wore blue velvet -- ho, ho, ho!

The Wharton Police Department Blue Santa program is a few years old now. The department has partnered with multiple agencies and churches to collect toy and distribute them out to low income children. This is the first year that officers have partnered with Just Do it Now, a faith-based organization that helps at-risk children and adults.

"A lot of the kids we cater to most of their parents are on drugs or have been in some sort of trouble with the law and we just wanted to make a positive impact." said Charlotte Jackson. The impact is felt in both directions.

"We are reinvigorated by the most beautiful thing on earth which is youth and innocence," said Wharton police Sgt. Ariel Soltura. "The laughter of children. So it's great going out there and seeing them smile."

On Wednesday, Blue Santa visited twenty families each with multiple children. He was busy with visits on Tuesday too.

To give you an idea how much things like this are needed in Wharton, keep in mind the following statistic: 80 percent, an estimate of how many people live below the poverty line in the southeast Texas town. That may be high, but as of two years ago, the median household income was only $26,000 -- that's household not individual. That means for children like Isiah and Anthony, Blue Santa is always a welcome sight.

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