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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 4:09 am | Fair 42º

 
 
 
 

Santa Maria Police, Elks Team Up to Collect Holiday Toys

Police Department's Community Services Unit will distribute gifts to families in need

Santa Maria police officers, from left, Mike Guerra, Sam Gwo, Ricky Arias, Paul Santiago and Sylvester Swain pose Tuesday with toys donated by the Santa Maria Elks. Click to view larger
Santa Maria police officers, from left, Mike Guerra, Sam Gwo, Ricky Arias, Paul Santiago and Sylvester Swain pose Tuesday with toys donated by the Santa Maria Elks. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Through the efforts of Santa Maria Elks members, hundreds of dollars of new toys filled the Santa Maria Police Department’s DARE vehicle on Tuesday.

The toys will be distributed by the department’s Community Services Unit — made up of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) officers, school resource officers and beat coordinators.

“Wow, it’s full,” one woman commented as a pile of toys was moved into the vehicle.

Upon learning of the need for toys, the Elks Bingo Kitchen Committee and other committees rallied to raise more than $1,000 and partnered with Walmart to buy additional toys, Elks representatives said.

This marked the first time the Police Department teamed with Elks to collect toys for families in need. 

“It’s a time for giving,” said Officer Mike Guerra, a beat coordinator, adding that he broached the idea with Greg Rodriguez of the Elks Bingo Kitchen Committee.

Upon being contacted, Rodriguez said the group took on the effort, something he suspects will become a regular tradition. 

“It was a no-brainer,” Guerra said, noting the Elks and law enforcement both work to help the community. 

Through their roles on local campuses, the school resource officers learn about children from needy families. 

“What better place to get a batch of kids in need than at the schools,” Guerra added.

The pile of toys sat on the lawn in front of the Elks lodge before being loaded into the police vehicle.

“It’s just awesome to work with another group and give back to the community,” Guerra added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Santa Maria police Officer Paul Santiago stands near the DARE vehicle on Tuesday after it was filled with donated toys from the Santa Maria Elks. Click to view larger
Santa Maria police Officer Paul Santiago stands near the DARE vehicle on Tuesday after it was filled with donated toys from the Santa Maria Elks. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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