SAND SPRINGS — On the final day before winter break, the North Pole’s head honcho made an early stop to help spread holiday cheer at one Sand Springs elementary school Friday morning.
Santa joined members of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and Tulsa County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 188 to deliver toys to students from Northwoods Fine Arts Academy as part of the annual Mike Clancy Toy Drive. Clancy, a former deputy, originated the toy drive back in 1982 by collecting gifts and delivering toys to area families.
Due to the success of this year’s drive, each of the 477 Northwoods students was able to pick out three toys, which they chose from a display along the rows of tables throughout the school cafeteria.
“The impact it’s going to make on our kids right now is going to be something I can’t even find words for right now because their families are on hard times with the stress of not only COVID, but the holidays and everything that entails,” said Northwoods Principal Laura Hamilton.
Each grade was called to the cafeteria separately over the school intercom to pick their toys of choice.
Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado was also on hand to greet students and witness their reactions. Regalado said the toy drive held even more significance considering the struggles brought upon families in 2020.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Regalado said. “This is extremely important to do. It’s the kids and many of these kids can’t afford a big Christmas, so this gives them a little bit of something to look forward to. And spreading the Christmas spirit is more important now than it has been in recent years.”
In addition to the toy drive, Northwoods received and unexpected gift from both law enforcement organizations. The school, which regularly has wildlife around the property, also received a deer feeder.
Tulsa County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Green, one of the event organizers, said the toy drive also enables the children see police from a different, more positive perspective.
“In today’s day and time, there’s a lot of stress and contingency about law enforcement and what they do and who we are,” Green said. “But this is a side of us they don’t get to see very often. So it’s important for us to get out here and do community policing like this and let people see that we are people too. And we do more than put people in jail and write tickets.”
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