Deputies deliver Christmas cheer

Published 8:41 pm Monday, December 11, 2017

Santa Claus and the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office delivered holiday cheer to schoolchildren on Monday after another successful toy drive.

About two dozen sheriff’s deputies worked in shifts at both Suffolk Walmart stores on Saturday to collect toy donations for Operation Helping Hands. They were cold and wet as they collected donations for six hours, joined by more than 15 Nansemond River High School BETA Club volunteers, Sheriff E.C. Harris said.

“It was cold and rainy, but folks still came out and donated,” Harris said.

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He estimated that approximately 1,000 to 1,200 new toys were collected, including numerous bicycles.

“It was a tremendous outpouring,” he said.

The toys were delivered Monday morning to Elephant’s Fork Elementary School and Booker T. Washington Elementary School. Sheriff’s deputies carried bicycles, action figures, board games and more into the schools, and Deputy J.C. Patterson was dressed as Santa and greeted students.

This was the fourth year the sheriff’s office has held a toy drive for Elephant’s Fork and another school that rotates annually. They also happened to drop off toys at Booker T. Washington when students and teachers were dressed for Pajama Monday.

“We’re all dreaming of winter break,” Booker T. Washington Principal Lori Mounie laughed.

Third-grader Jordan Stewart, 8, said she was comfy in her PJs when she and her fellow students were visited by Santa and the deputies.

“I didn’t really know what was going on,” Jordan said. “It was really cool.”

Mounie said the sheriff’s office helped make the holidays better for each child at the school, along with their families.

She and her staff will take inventory of the toys and bicycles, then distribute them to the neediest children first, she said. Bicycles will be raffle prizes.

“We want all of our students to have a merry Christmas, and enjoy the holidays with something extra for them,” she said.