By FAITH HUFFMAN
News-Telegram News Editor
Law enforcement officers who conduct the Blue Santa program Wednesday noted that although the official deadline to sign up for help has passed they are still taking names. Anyone who has kids who needs assistance in providing Christmas gifts for them can contact officers to receive help.
Contact Pinkie Cooper, Brad Cummings or Lewis Tatum at Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office, 298 Rosemont St. in Sulphur Springs, 903-438-4040; Mitch Griggs or Jay Sanders at Sulphur Springs Police Department, 125 South Davis St. in Sulphur Springs, 903-885-7602; or Mike Morgan at Cumby Police Department, 101 East Main St. in Cumby, 903-994-4924, as soon as possible to get on Blue Santa’s toy list.
“Anybody who has children can contact one of us to get toys for their children. It doesn’t matter if they receive government assistance or not. It’s OK if you were turned down before because you don’t get government assistance. It’s so late, well past the sign up deadline, but if they will contact us now, we will do what we can to help make sure every kid has toys at Christmas,” Tatum said Wednesday.
The officers extended the offer to help after learning some families who are in need of help were turned down for assistance when they applied to Blue Santa earlier this month.
“We found out some people had applied and been turned down because they don’t receive government assistance, but need help financially. Those are the ones, provided they’re not on one of the [help agencies’] lists, that Blue Santa’s here to help. That’s why we do this, to help those families. We want every child to have toys at Christmas,” Tatum noted.
He explained that officers began checking into the application process after learning some families had been turned down for Blue Santa. One woman contacted the News-Telegram and officials, trying to understand why a program designed to help parents like her had turned her request for help down.
“She’s a single parent, working two to three jobs to support her kids, but was told she does not qualify for assistance [when she applied for the Blue Santa program,]” Tatum said. “ She didn’t understand why. She’s not on government aid so she was denied. That’s not what Blue Santa is about. It helps anybody who is truly in need of toys for their kids.”
Several businesses are also holding a few toy drives over the next two weeks in an effort to make sure there are enough toys to ensure all Hopkins County children have a good Christmas morning.
Toy drivers are as follows:
n/ Saturday, Dec. 1, 3-5 p.m. — Echo Publishing Co., 401 Church St., toy drive in conjunction with free pictures of children with Santa.
n/ Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 3-4, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. — Star Country 95.9 live radio broadcast of toy and money drive, Brookshire’s parking lot, 809 Gilmer St.
n/ Thursday, Dec. 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m. — Hopkins House, 890 Camp St., toy drive; bring an unwrapped toy donation and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and cocoa. Blue Santa will be on hand to greet kids
n/ Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. — Starplex Cinemas, 621 East Shannon Road, toy drive and movie; see either “It's a Wonderful Life” or “The Polar Express” for free with the donation of one unwrapped toy per person.
Each year the Blue Santa program also deposits their trademark blue barrels at schools and businesses throughout Hopkins County, to allow community members who wish to help to donate in barrels unwrapped toys to go to children benefitting from the program. Officers ask please no trash as such items may damage toys donated for children. Blue Santa barrel locations include:
n/ Como-Pickton CISD, 13017 State Highway 11 east of Como
n/ Weaver Store, 178 FM 269 north in Weaver
n/ Joe Bob’s on FM 71 at State Highway 19 north
n/ Joe Bob’s Como-State Highway 11 east in Como
n/ Saltillo ISD, 150 County Road 3534
n/ Sulphur Bluff ISD, 1027 County Road 3550 (just off FM 71 east)
n/ Walgreen’s, 1130 South Broadway St.
n/ Pilgrim Bank, 1404 South Broadway St.
n/ Miller Grove ISD, 7819 FM 275 south
n/ Brookshire’s, 809 Gilmer St.
n/ Alliance Bank, corner of Jefferson and Church streets
n/ Burgers & Fries, 208 College St.
n/ Guaranty Bond Bank, 919 Gilmer St.
n/ Grocery Supply Co., 130 North Hillcrest Drive
n/ Morning Star, 300 East Industrial Drive
n/ Edwards Jones Investments, 126 Main St.
n/ City National Bank, 1133 Mockingbird Lane
n/ Pizza Inn, 1320 Mockingbird Lane
n/ Sulphur Springs Chrysler Dodge Jeep, 1505 West Industrial Drive
n/ Muddy Jake’s Sports Grille & Pub, 229 Main St
n/ Lou Viney’s Restaurant & Pub, 206 Main St.
n/ Plain and Fancy Sandwich Shoppe, 120 Main St.
n/ Sulphur Springs Police Department, 125 South Davis St.
n/ Family Dollar, 1147 South Broadway St.
n/ Dollar General, 518 Main St.
n/ Dollar General, 1179 South Broadway St.
n/ Sears, 1402 Mockingbird Lane
n/ Atwoods, 817 Gilmer St.
n/ Sulphur Springs Hardware, 1000 Gilmer St.
n/ Cumby ISD, 303 Sayle St.
n/ Wal-Mart, 1750 South Broadway St.
n/ Lowe’s, 1711 South Broadway St.
n/ North Hopkins ISD, 1994 FM 71 west
n/ Rotary Club, First United Methodist Church, 301 Church St.
n/ Aaron’s, 1402 Mockingbird Lane
n/ Sweet Thangs, 122 West Main St. Cumby (across from Cumby Police Dept.)
n/ I-30 Fast Mart, 100 north I-30 service road, Cumby
n/ Shell Station, 117 south I-30 service road, Cumby
n/ Ag-Power, 3454 I-30 west of Sulphur Springs
n/ Hopkins House, 890 Camp St.
n/ Cumby Telephone, 200 Frisco St.
n/ Sulphur Springs Health & Rehab, 411 Airport Road
n/ IHOP, 1220 Mockingbird Lane
n/ VF Outlet Mall, east entrance
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