PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Police Zone Two Substation in Downtown Pittsburgh looked more like Santa’s workshop Friday morning.
It was packed with stuffed animals, dolls, games, bicycles and more, as Pittsburgh’s men and women in blue took over for the North Pole’s man in red.
Since Santa is already busy loading up his sleigh, they instead loaded up their police cruisers to deliver 6,000 presents to children and families across the city.
Monique Carson’s son got some Hot Wheels and a Nerf toy.
“It’ll be a big help because getting toys for him is a hassle sometimes. Plus, it’s expensive,” Carson said.
Pittsburgh Police have been doing this for five years now with donations from officers, local charities and various organizations.
Officers then hand out the gifts, during their regular patrols to show that being a police officer is not only about enforcing laws but also giving back.
“It’s about serving the community, serving the people that live in the community and basically just helping anyone and everyone who would be willing to accept our services,” Pittsburgh Police Officer Antoine Davis said.
In light of recent reports of someone dressed as Santa approaching children in Spring Hill, police also used Friday’s gift-giving to remind children that it’s OK to approach an officer in uniform but never a stranger.
“It means a lot. It shows that our officers are not only here to serve and protect our community, but that they’re also caring for our young ones that have to know that the officers are going to protect them too,” Darla Copeland, of the Hill District, said.
“It’s nice that they can give back to the community and help out with the kids,” Carson said.
But Davis says the best part of this annual holiday tradition for the officers is to see the smile on the children’s faces and know their parents are grateful for a little help during the holidays.