Operation Santa Brightens Holiday

In its 29th year, the Gulfport Police Department’s Operation Santa is collecting toys, bikes, scooters and skateboards that are filling a storage room in addition to an adjacent hallway. This year, “we have 82 families and 240 kids,” said Francine Whitten, volunteer head elf. The program will also be taking care of three children who were recently found by police alone in a bus parked at Gulfport beach. “We’re getting their sizes and we’ll be getting them new clothes, shoes and blankets. We’ll take care of them too.” Throughout the year, donations of unwrapped toys or cash for local children ages 0 to 10 years of age who qualify can be made to the police department, 2401 53rd St. S. from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Pictured from left are Officer Zack Mills, teen council member Katelyn Latragna, Police Chief Rob Vincent and Whitten.

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