On Thursday, they delivered gifts to 10 families - 21 children - this year, packing three of their personal vehicles full of presents.
This year, Santa was there helping deliver the gifts. It's not every year that Santa can come to visit, officers said.
Bikes, clothes, games, dolls, remote-controlled cars and video games were some of the children's wishes from Santa.
With the help of the schools, the Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority and by word of mouth, they find children to help every year. They start on Dec 1.
“We asked the parents for their sizes for clothes, what the children needed and then what they were asking for Christmas,” said Sgt. Laura Davis, school resource officer. “And we asked them what the children liked.”
Police department employees paid for the gifts out of their own pockets, she said. The Fraternal Order of Police also purchased a Kroger gift card for each family so they could buy Christmas dinner.
“That money comes from our dues to the lodge,” said Davis, who has been involved in the project for the past five years. “The children were so excited.”
Besides the employees, one person from PMHA and a friend of one of the officers helped.
Some of the parents came to tears when they saw the gifts, she said, and everyone was appreciative.
Several children helped deliver the presents.
Davis took her nine-year-old son, Ben, who has been going with her for the past three years.
Lt. Debbie Brewer and her husband, Lt. Lynn Brewer, took their two children, Blake and Madison, with them to help deliver gifts.
“Most of us have kids, and it gives us an opportunity to teach our kids and gives us the chance to give back to the community,” Davis said.
PHYLLIS NOAH can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.