Phoenix police give Christmas gifts to residents at Valley facility

- Led in a motorcade, officers arrived with gifts at Hacienda Health Center.

"They put the call out for Blue Santa and he answers the call every year," said Sgt. Vince Lewis with the Phoenix Police Department.

One hundred residents live at this facility for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"Everyone's face lights up here when Phoenix PD come out and bring gifts to the residents," Arlin Acosta said. "They have the most joyous time here."

Officers started this tradition 27 years ago after responding to a fire call and noticing the residents didn't have any Christmas gifts.

"The officers pooled their money, resources, their own time to come together and provide for the gifts," Sgt. Lewis said. "They do unbelievable work for the community. They need to be supported by everyone."

Officers say they start this process months in advance and really make sure their gift has meaning.

"Some of them are nonverbal and some aren't too ambulatory; they physically can't do a whole lot, but you can still see in their eyes when Blue Santa comes out of the car and police officers fill the hallway, they're an enormous amount of cheer that comes with that," Sgt. Lewis said. "You can see that in the residence reactions."

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