For the fourth year in a row, members of the Northeastern University Police Department played Santa, delivering gifts to local children.
“As the years have gone on, it’s growing and developing into something really beautiful,” officer Anika Crutchfield, who has participated in the volunteer effort since its inception, said of the annual tradition.
The NUPD holds its annual gift drive to benefit the Learn and Play Child Care Center, which is located at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church on Tremont Street. On Thursday, officers visited the center’s group of 2- to 5-year-olds, bearing a variety of donated gifts. Stuffed polar bears, a Tonka truck, playdough, a remote-controlled RC Jeep, and a giant dollhouse were among the presents awaiting their new homes.
“The kids get happy to see us, and it makes us happy to see them happy,” said officer Mark Washington.
The event is also an opportunity for the NUPD to connect with community members. “One of the things we like is that the kids’ first encounter with police will be a friendly encounter,” said NUPD community service officer Celine Conte. “They can see us in a friendly way, so if they need help, they’re not afraid to come up to us.”