The Santa Claus who dons a jolly red Christmas suit is getting a little help from Blue Santa in bringing holiday happiness to more than 150 children in Robinson this year.

The Robinson Police Department kicked off its seventh annual Blue Santa program late last month. A total of 51 families with 158 children registered for the holiday program this year, making it the largest in the Robinson program’s history.

“Each year, the program seems to grow and grow, and this year it nearly doubled,” said Jessica Casper, Robinson Senior Dispatcher and program coordinator. “Last year we had 26 families with 98 children, but this year we do have a family that is an evacuee from Hurricane Harvey that was nominated.

“We also have a lot of new families that we’ve never helped before.”

Casper and Officer Chris Lopez, who serves as Robinson’s crime prevention officer, organized the Blue Santa program. With donations coming in from the public, churches, Robinson schools and partnerships with local businesses, community support is growing right along with the growing need, Casper said.

“I’ve gotten more calls this year of churches that want to help individuals and families or other city workers who want to help,” she said. “It is like everyone knew we had more kids and everyone is willing to step up and help.”

All the efforts prove city officials and the rest of the community are willing to step up to help others, Robinson Police Chief Phillip Prasifka said. He started as chief in September.

“The most rewarding part is helping out someone in need, and I think that is what is so important,” Prasifka said. “Being new to the department, we had a similar program from where I came from, but to have this many families and to know we are going to be able to help so many more people really says a lot about this community.”

Lopez said the Robinson Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the police department to encourage donations from the local school district. He said classes that collect the most donations for the program will be rewarded with a pizza and ice cream social.

“I mean, its Christmas. It is a lot of work but it is a lot of fun, and knowing we can all come together and do this with our city is great,” Lopez said.

Robinson police will be collecting donations until Dec. 15. To donate to the Blue Santa program, visit the Robinson City Hall Christmas tree at 111 W. Lyndale Drive or call 662-0525 for more information.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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