PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Jackson County Sheriff's Department continues to spread Christmas cheer through their annual Santa Wears a Badge program.
Pascagoula resident Melissa Hester says even though she works part time for the city doing school patrol, she doesn't make enough money to provide gifts for her two grandchildren.
Hester says, "I'm very happy because I know it will put a smile on my children's face on Christmas morning. I need help very much."
That's why she's thankful for the Santa Wears a Badge program.
Hester says, "It actually gives everybody a good Christmas spirit for people helping the people who really need the help."
In Jackson County, the Sheriff's Department spearheads the community-wide effort to help provide holiday gifts for families in need.
Connie Bosarge, Santa Wears a Badge co-founder, says she's thrown her heart and soul into making the program a success since 2014.
"These people are people in the county that cannot qualify for Toys for Tots, or any other assistance because their income is too high," said Bosarge. "Then again, their income is too low to go and get things for their children. We have a variety, and it's actually getting bigger each year, when we first started out, we had maybe half of this."
Bosarge says when the group set out collection boxes throughout the county, donations soon began to pour in.
Hurley resident Rylee Sharpton is a member of the East Central Lockhearts. Her group donated money and bought toys to give.
"I know there's a lot of families just that I know in our community that need things this Christmas, and I hope that they get it, and it'll bless them this Christmas," said Sharpton.
Bosarge notes community leaders and first responders keep an eye our for families who may need the help throughout the year.
She says those families can contact her so she can make sure their children will get toys they like.