Santa surprises hundreds of Biloxi children with gifts

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi police officers made a list, checked it twice and then loaded up gifts for all those who were nice. Santa and his elves rode door-to-door with the officers Friday to deliver the gifts.

"Hi, we are Santa Wears a Badge and we have some gifts for you," Biloxi Police Sergeant Jackie Rhodes said as she knocked on a door.

The Huber family opened up with excitement.

"Have you been good?" Santa asked.

All the children shook their heads yes so he left several bags of gifts for them.

"This is the Christmas for my kids, so thank you so much," Kathy Huber said.

The next stop was the Averhart household.

"Awww pooh bear got a bike, I'm so excited," said Anita Averhart as the elves brought the gifts inside her house.

She is disabled and struggles to provide for her four grandchildren she is raising.

"I tell you God is good. Oh my God, it means the world. It means the world, and that means our babies get Christmas this year."

One by one the elves kept the gifts coming, with tears in her eyes Averhart asked, "how can I ever thank ya'll?"

After all the presents were unloaded it was on to the Wajda household.

"I appreciate it, my husband recently lost his job and I've been trying to find anything to make them happy and have a good Christmas this year," said Jennifer Wajda.

It is story after story like these that motivate Biloxi officers to keep the Santa Wears a Badge Program going every year.

"We want to make sure that every child in Biloxi has the opportunity to have a gift under the tree on Christmas and unfortunately these times that we are in right now, there are a lot of kids that won't unless somebody steps forward to help," Rhodes said.

Through referrals from people in the community this year the police department, with the help of donations from the community, provided Christmas for around 50 families.

"Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas everyone, I'll be back to see you in five days," Santa said as he finished unloading gifts.

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