Each year, hundreds of students are nominated to receive services from Alvin Blue Santa during the Christmas season. We currently offer two wonderful programs during Christmastime: the Alvin Blue Santa Toy Drive for K-6th grade students, and the Alvin Blue Santa Christmas Shopping Experience for 7th through 12th graders.
Our nominees are selected by AISD School Counselors and Teachers; each student is chosen because of at-risk/ disadvantage/ poverty status. At this time, we are able to provide for around 100 nominees each year - solely funded by individual donations and local business sponsors, but there have always been more students than there are funds, and some nominated children are turned away each year.
Our mission is to provide for every nominated student from AISD and the surrounding communities, every year. It is a big and lofty goal, but we believe that there are still enough good people with enough Christmas Spirit to make it happen! Won't you consider donating, volunteering, or being a corporate sponsor?
The Alvin Blue Santa Program was founded in 1998 by officers of the Alvin Police Department Bike Patrol Unit. The purpose was to raise funds in order to purchase bicycles for children in the community who would not be getting much for Christmas. It was also an opportunity for these children and their families to have positive interaction with their local police officers.
The first year, officers and volunteers delivered around a dozen bicycles to children in the community. From 1998 to 2003, the number of bikes and helmets given increased as donations came in from individuals, civic organizations, and local businesses. Another boost to the program took place due to an interactive partnership with the Houston Police Department’s Blue Santa Program and then-president Officer Joe Pyland and coordinator Officer Jack Hanagriff. Bikes received from HPD’s program almost doubled the number of bikes given away those years.
In 2003, the brand new coordinator, Denise Stanaland, suggested and coordinated the first Alvin Blue Santa Motorcycle Ride. It was a huge success, raising thousands of dollars for the program and was the organization’s primary fund raiser. In 2013, we held our 10th Annual Alvin Blue Santa Motorcycle Ride which included a live band, silent and live auctions, vendor booths, raffles, door prizes, and trophies presented to individual riders as well as motorcycle clubs. Since our ride was “blue” (law enforcement), only law-abiding motorcycle clubs would participate. We were blessed with the support of law enforcement motorcycle clubs such as The Blue Knights, Los Canales, Los Familia, Thin Blue Line and faith-driven clubs like the Christian Motorcycle Association.
In the beginning, the program operated under the umbrella of the Alvin Police Officers Association, but as of 2011, we were awarded 501(C)(3) tax exempt status as a non-profit organization. Though we now operate independently as a non-profit organization, we continue to have volunteers from local law enforcement agencies engage with our participants annually, and we couldn't be happier about that.
We no longer host the motorcycle ride, and have replaced the bike and helmet drive with two outstanding programs: the Annual Alvin Blue Santa Toy Drive for K-6th grade children, and our Annual Christmas Shopping Experience for 7th through 12th grade students. Additionally, we have new programs coming soon that will extend our outreach to year-round giving opportunities. We hope you'll stick around and help us grow!
Ever wonder how Santa gets gifts to every child in the world in one night? The answer is LOTS of HELP!
The same is true of Alvin Blue Santa: We could not pull off this miracle every year without a small army of volunteers, individual donors, and business sponsors. Please consider contributing!
About the kids: as mentioned above, the kids are nominated at school to receive services. Because the need is so great, we often have a waiting list. We've heard over the years that many of the younger children look forward to the day when they are old enough to participate in our Shopping Experience, and that warms our hearts. In order to make the program as fair as possible, we do not take personal applications for services - everyone must be nominated at school, and we work on a two-year cycle, meaning that if a child receives services from us this year, he or she will have to wait two years before they can participate again. In this way, we are able to share the love with more families, since we have historically been unable to serve every needy child from our nominee pool in one year.
In the past, we have provided our young shoppers with $100 each, with which to purchase gifts. Many, many of them chose, and still choose, to buy groceries, toiletries, shoes, and clothes for their siblings and parents. With the rising cost of all goods, we have determined that it is time to increase our budget to meet our participants needs and make their experience as special as it should be. This year, we have increased the amount to $150 per student, and we are very excited to see how this increase impacts our participants!
There is nothing more magical for a child than Christmas; nothing more hopeful than the heart of a child on Christmas morning. Alvin Blue Santa, under the compassionate directorship of our own "Mrs. Claus," Denise Stanaland, strives to create Christmas magic and to stir joyful hope in the hearts of the at-risk and disadvantaged children of our area through these wonderful programs, with help from people who remember what is was like to be a child on Christmas morning. If you would like to help Alvin Blue Santa in any capacity, please contact us. The kids are counting on us!
My name is Linda Wingeier and this is my second year to participate in the program. I really enjoyed the event and the time shared with the young ladies. It is enlightening to me that they shop for basic necessities such as, hair products, dental hygiene products and even deodorant. Most spend their designated money on other family members or gifts for their friends.
The students are grateful for the opportunity to give to others and express sincere excitement about spending their money on others. However, many students become anxious about not spending their money wisely and are worried about going over their allowed amount.
This program serves and fills a great need to many who would otherwise go without during the holiday season. I am proud to be a small part of the Blue Santa program and look forward to participating again this coming year.
My name is Lucille Collins and this is my first year doing Blue Santa. It was a blessing to be able to help this year. I was partnered up with a young gentleman who decided to use his allowed money to buy groceries for him and his family. He also bought cleaning supplies and household necessities. At the end of the shopping trip he bought cookies because he himself kept a running total to ensure he would not go over budget.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience for me, because I was that person myself years ago when I had my kids. I hope I have the opportunity to do it again this upcoming year. I think this program truly is a wonderful program that helps meet the needs for everyone in the community.
First, let me thank you for the support to our students. You put the extra effort to ensure that every student nominated gets served. Every year, students wait impatiently for me to tell them “you have been nominated for Blue Santa.”
Fairview Jr High nominates between 15 and 20 students every year, and almost every single student gets the privilege to shop at Walmart. One of my joys is to deliver the message “you are going shopping with Blue Santa.”
Students get so excited that almost every day they come to my classroom to ask “Ms. Can I buy clothes? Ms. Can I buy food?” Students, not only have the opportunity to shop at Walmart, they get a meal before shopping and transportation from the school to the restaurant and then to Walmart. It is a phenomenal community program.
The volunteers wait patiently for the students to eat their meal and do all the shopping at Walmart. Sometimes, they put a little bit of extra money for the students to get everything they have in their baskets. Every year, there is always a story that impacts me. One year, a student spend most of her budget on food. It was important for her to feed their siblings. The student did not have an easy family story, but Blue Santa made her Christmas that year.
Last year, a student was excited to get Blue Bell ice cream because he never had it before. The same evening, it happened that one of our teachers was at the store with her family, and you know how students are, they kept calling her to show what they have in their baskets.
The next day, the teacher came to my classroom to tell me that please tell her when Blue Santa goes to Walmart because she wanted to be part of the experience again.
Students buy from the simple things like a bag of chips, pair of pants, Christmas sweater, or earrings for mom because she never gets a gift for Christmas.
This program means a lot to our students and community. Thank you again for all you do.
Communities In Schools
I am a Police Officer with the Alvin ISD Police Department and I am submitting this letter regarding my personal feelings and involvement with the Blue Santa Program. As a child we grew up less than fortunate and my Mother worked hard to make sure we had food on the table and clothes on our backs. More often than not there was no room for ANYTHING extra.
One year while in elementary school (I believe 5th grade) I was chosen to be a recipient of the Blue Santa shopping. I will never forget how excited I felt and how important it was for me to buy something for my two sisters and my mother for Christmas that year. I don't recall making any purchases for myself.
As an adult and now a Police Officer myself I was asked last year to volunteer my time to shop with a child for the Blue Santa Shopping. The young lady (Middle School aged) that I was assigned to shop with was very sweet and very excited. As we walked the isles of Walmart she picked out a couple small items for a younger sibling and then spent the rest on new clothes for herself. As the ones she was wearing did not fit properly. We ended up spending over her limit and I paid the difference because I couldn't help feeling emotional about how (what seems as not so long ago ;) ) I was that young lady and how thrilled I was to get new things for the people I loved.
I truly feel that the Blue Santa Program is a much needed program as I saw most of the older children buying groceries with their money as well as other kids buying clothes, hygiene products, etc. It also holds a special place in my heart as it has come full circle in my life.
Stories like these are precious to us. Help us make a difference in the lives of children from our local community this Christmas with a donation of any amount.