Created: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 05:41:00 EST
Updated: Tue, 24 Dec 2013 10:14:28 EST
Raffle numbers were called by Macon Police Department officers at their annual "Santa In The Park" celebration. For ten years now the youth and intervention department of the Macon Police has held the event as a way to give back to the community.
"It's great to bring the community together because a lot of people are just out here just having fun with their kids," said Alesia Waller, mother of five, just missed out on the toy give away. Macon police gave out more than 350 toys to those in need. Meals were also served, as more than 300 people left with a full stomach.
"It's nice because it not only lets me know that they protect us but they also care about us to," said Waller. Santa in the park is about kids having a good time in the community, but the Macon Police Department also wants to instill some of the right values in these kids, especially when it comes to how they respond to violence first hand."
"We're trying to instill in our children that when you see a gun they are not to touch it, they need to immediately alert the mother or father, said Lieutenant Ellis Sinclair.
George thomas is president of citizens on patrol. He has been in the police department for seventeen years and has been santa on duty the last three years for santa in the park. "Its for the under privileged kids that can come out, they will have a toy at christmas time." He says it's the stories they've told him that make him want to continue putting on the suit come Christmas."
"I talk to some of the kids and the things that they say to me. It will make you laugh and some will make you cry." Santa in the park was an event for kids to get away from the violence they may have seen through their young eyes.
Despite missing out on getting gifts for her children, Alesia is grateful for what the event stands for, "they're looking at our young people giving them something interesting to do and something to keep them off the street."