JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Jackson County Sheriff's Department is looking to make Christmas a little brighter for several families this year. To do that, deputies have joined other area first responders to put together a gift drive.
Their hope is to help as many families as possible through donated toys and clothing.
Deputy Connie Bosarge has only been with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department for a few years. This year, she's hoping that her influence will mean a merry Christmas for families throughout the county.
She said she can relate to parents and guardians who can't always provide Christmas presents for their children.
"Years ago, I needed assistance, but wouldn't go and tell nobody," said Bosarge.
A bank adopted Bosarge's family to make one of her most memorable Christmases to this day.
"I just wanted to give back or help give back like they gave to us years ago," said Bosarge.
Starting the Santa Wears a Badge toy drive in Jackson County was her way of doing just that. She says, like herself, many people may not want to ask for help. That's when she uses her resources as a first responder.
Community leaders and other emergency personnel have an ear to the ground in their neighborhoods. It's up to them to nominate families to benefit from Santa Wears a Badge.
"We need the community. First responders need the community. The sheriff's department, the PDs, all of us. The community needs to be whole again. We all need each other," said Bosarge.
The public is invited to drop off clothing and gifts at several donation locations throughout the county. Bosarge hopes people will decide to pay it forward to community members who may not be as fortunate.
"If you think your child would benefit from it, that's what we need," said Bosarge.
The department will be collecting on Dec. 17, and delivering the gifts the Saturday before Christmas.
Drop off locations include Fountainebleau Fire Department, Vancleave Fire Department, Cole's Service Center, St. Martin High School, Sheriff's Dept. in Pascagoula and Saint Martin, DA's office, Circuit Clerk's office, County Complex, Chancery Courthouse, Deaconess Home Health, Hurley Mini-Storage, Kangaroo Express in Moss Point, Ali's Attic in Anchorage Square, Action Printing Center, Forts Lake Fire Dept., Vancleave High School and Grady's Country Store in Moss Point.
If you have any questions, please call Bosarge at 228-623-0659 or 228-769-3153.