What is more all-American than softball, Santa and selflessness?
All three were combined when the Grapevine Police Santa Cops 2016 campaign was in full swing earlier this month as the city and Travel Sports Baseball hosted this year’s 6th Annual Baseball and Softball tournament.
More than 1,500 toys were donated from the event to the Grapevine Police Department’s Santa Cops program. The annual program, in its 21st year, will deliver donated toys to and fulfill the Christmas wishes of more than 800 economically disadvantaged children in the area.
The 2016 tournament, Nov.4-6, fielded more than 130 teams that used Oak Grove ballfields, Oak Grove softball fields, Bear Creek Park and the softball complex at Bob Jones Park in Southlake.
Although Grapevine Santa Cops is more than two decades old, the charity got a new partner in 2011 when Grapevine Baseball/Softball Association board members came up with a tournament in the fall to benefit the kids of Grapevine by including the Grapevine Police Department.
Tournament entry required all players to donate an unwrapped toy valued at $15-$20. From 2011-2015, the tournament has hosted between 70 and 80 teams. Since 2011, GBSA has donated around 1,000 toys each year. The 2016 tournament marked its sixth year.
The Grapevine Police Santa Cops program is operated by Grapevine Police Officers, their families and community volunteers and is funded entirely by local donations.
The program was started in 1995 by now retired Officer Margie Salame, wife of Police Chief Eddie Salame. She began the program, in part, because she remembered as a young girl from a disadvantaged home receiving a surprise gift of a pink coat from kindly neighbors.
Through donations, Santa Cops delivers donated toys to economically disadvantaged children in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district. Through this program, Christmas wishes are fulfilled to hundreds of area children each year.
Santa Cops accepts monetary and new (unwrapped) toy donations that can be dropped off by Dec. 19 at Grapevine Police Department, 307 W. Dallas, City Hall, 200 S. Main St.; Central Fire Station, 601 Boyd Dr.; The REC, 1175 Municipal Way; City Hall, 200 S. Main St.; and Grapevine Golf Course, 3800 Fairway Drive.
The public can register for the city’s new Santa Cops Community Information Service at Nixle.com or text from your mobile phone to 888777 and text SANTACOPS. The information published via this service will be sent directly to the sender via text, email and/or web message.
Santa Cops is always in need of volunteers. Follow the Grapevine Police Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram accounts for information on Santa Cops.
Gift wrapping times are from 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 6, 8, 13 and, if necessary, Dec. 15. Santa Cops will be located at 1317 W. State Highway 114 (formerly World Market) near Target in the Grapevine Towne Center.
For additional information, contact Grapevine Police Community Relations at 817-410-3206.