An unmarked black SUV arrived suddenly at Park North Apartments in Lexington Thursday evening, with its siren wailing and lights flashing. It was greeted by excited children laughing and shouting, knowing that it was bringing Santa Claus.
A similar scene played out in the Latimer Manor neighborhood in Columbia, as police officers drove through with Santa riding in the back of a truck and speakers playing holiday carols, while children rushed out of the apartment greetings to greet him.
The Lexington Police Department and Columbia Police Department both took time to spread holiday cheer to those they protect and serve, and in particular those who might be in need this season.
Heroes in Blue, through their “Greg’s Groceries” initiative with Harvest Hope, provided food for Christmas meals for each of the 85 families who live at Park North Apartments.
Meanwhile, Lexington police officers purchased more than 130 gifts, making sure that every single one of the more than 130 children at Park North would take one home.
“This event is about partnerships. It’s about people coming together,” said Heroes in Blue President Kassy Alia. “We are all in this together, and during this holiday season I can’t think of a better way to join together in celebration and love for one another.”
On the Columbia other side of the river, the same joy was visible on the faces of the children who rushed out to meet Santa as their parents watched and officers on ATVs passed out candy to all. The officers will continue visiting neighborhoods Friday evening.
Alia expressed the sentiments of all the officers and others who made the two events happen Thursday.
“Looking around at all the kids here and seeing their faces, I see my own little boy,” she said. “All children deserve love and celebration over the holiday season, and if we can be even a small part of spreading holiday cheer, I’m honored and grateful for that.”