By Lillian Bowe
Bianca Velediac, 5, was bouncing up and down in anticipation Satyrday as she waited for her turn to sit on Santa’s lap and receive her gift.
She was one of the many children gathered at the Memorial Building for the 15th Annual Portales Police Department Operation Santa Cop.
Operation Santa Cop brings gifts to children who might not otherwise receive them this year.
This year, Event Coordinator Mickie Gonzales said police raised more than $6,000 for the event and bought 900 presents for the children.
Free hot dogs and juice were provided.
“I am really excited to get my present,” said Elario Aranda, 6, who attended Santa Cop with his two older brothers, Adrian, 7, and Manuel, 8.
Their grandmother, Samantha Aranda, brought them to the event.
“It is a really great event the community hosts and next year I would love to help out more,” Aranda said.
Many children took their gifts home unwrapped waiting for Christmas while others were too excited to wait and opened them immediately.
Race cars, make-up, toy figurines and many other assortment of gifts were given away to the kids.
The gifts were separated into boy/girl and then into different age groups.
Many volunteers from around the community joined in helping the event by taking tickets, serving food and retrieving presents.
“Everything came together so well. Portales people are so generous,” said Myriam Pallares, an administrative assistant at the police department who helped make the event a success.