Santa Sheriff's Program Kicks off Tenth Year Of Giving!
Jolly Old St. Nick made an early visit to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office to meet with the Santa Sheriff’s Program Director Deputy Brian Keis to discuss the growing need for area families in the 2013 giving season. He was pleased to find that efforts have been ongoing this year with monthly raffle baskets and that letters will be going out to area businesses seeking local support through monetary donations. These donations will help the program purchase gifts for families in the community.
The Santa Sheriff’s Program modeled after a similar initiative in Texas, began in 2004 and has been steadily growing. Partnering agencies and schools raise funds and refer less fortunate Cattaraugus County families to the program. Gifts are purchased at area businesses. Youth and volunteers from area schools and other county agencies wrap the gifts and package them for delivery.
In 2004, the goal had been to serve five families; the program grew to 26 families in 2011 and 2012 providing a total of 114 men, women and children. These families were provided gifts, as well as a complete Christmas dinner, along with dry goods donated through the efforts of the staff and students at the Salamanca Middle School. The program hopes to raise the funds to provide Christmas to 40 families this year.
As in the past years, the Sheriff’s Office has also pledged funding to the program through a donation from the Employees’ Association and the Supervisor Units, as well as receiving donations from area business and residents, in addition to the raffle baskets. Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Keis, Program Director, sees the Santa Sheriff’s Program as, “a way for us to give back to the community”. Fundraising efforts continue to grow each year adding new partners.
While the program is designed to provide Christmas gifts for area families, it also offers participants lessons in cooperation, volunteering and caring for others.
This year the program is looking to raise nearly $10,000 so that the needs of area families can be met. Individuals interested in donating to this project may contact Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb at 938-9191 ext. 2247 or Deputy Brian Keis at 938-9191 ext. 2899. Contributions can be made payable to the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, c/o Deputy Brian Keis, Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, 301 Court Street, Little Valley, New York 14755. Please indicate in the memo section “Santa Sheriff’s Program”. Together let’s make a families Christmas memorable.