Manchester Police Prepare to Play Santa on Christmas Day

Police in Manchester spend months each year collecting toys to give out to local kids on Christmas Day.

NBC Connecticut

It’s going to be a very merry Christmas for quite a few children in Manchester this year thanks to the generosity of their police department.

Leaders of this holiday goodwill effort said it’s not just about the gifts, but also an opportunity to connect with the members of the community they serve.

From bikes to Barbies to board games, this Christmas some children will be seeing it all under the tree.

“I think it’s a great way to connect police to the general public and represent this department as a community-friendly department,” said Sgt. Richard Monge of the Manchester Police Department.

Since 2014 the department has partnered with the Blue Angels to find families that might not be able to give their kids a Christmas to fill the gap. On Christmas morning, they’ll hand out around a thousand toys.

“There are smiling faces and kids that know they’re going to have a good day no matter what’s going on in their lives.  It’s extremely rewarding…it’s the only way to describe it,” Monge said.

On Christmas morning, all of the toys are loaded onto a Bearcat, but instead of a tactical response, the mission is spreading Christmas cheer.

“Going out and receiving hugs from these children and even their parents hugging us and thanking us for doing this that to us is a sign that we’re doing the right thing,” said Lt. Ryan Shea.

About 100 families across Manchester will get to experience the display this Christmas. Officers will be handing out the presents, but they said the real gift comes from bringing joy to their community.

“It means a lot on a lot of different levels,” Monge said.

Collecting the gifts is typically a year-long venture for the police department, so anyone who wants to get into the giving spirit for next Christmas can drop into the police department and drop off toys at any point throughout the year.

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