Police give Santa a helping hand
UIC Police Officer Braulio DeAnda traded in his traditional police uniform Friday for a more festive costume.
Dressed as Santa Claus, DeAnda handed out gifts to more than 40 third-graders from Smyth Elementary School for the UIC Police Department’s second annual Operation Santa Claus.
DeAnda and his helper elf, Officer Linda Rau, greeted children at the UIC Police Station, smiled for holiday photos and gave each kid the gifts he or she had requested in letters to Santa. Each child also received a handmade fleece blanket from Suzanne Johnson of Project Linus, a volunteer organization that makes blankets for ill and underprivileged children.
Smyth teachers Aileen Lopez and Laura Schmitt, principal’s assistant Doreen Vaughn and parent chaperones also attended.
A “huge success,” Operation Santa received twice as many letters from children this year as compared to last, Rau said.