SOUTH DEERING — Santa was escorted to the South Chicago District police station Wednesday where 30 anxious preschoolers awaited him.
“Police went to get Santa after his sleigh broke down,” Officer Yolanda Nowells told the 30 children from the Ada S. McKinley Trumbull Park Head Start program.
Nowells lead the kids to the front door of the station at 2255 E. 103rd St., where they sang “Jingle Bells” as Santa hopped from a squad car.
“The kids love it, and the commander comes by to make sure they’re OK every month,” said Damita Collins, director of the preschool at 10530 S. Oglesby Ave.
Cmdr. Berscott Ruiz said he wanted to do something special for the kids for Christmas.
“We’ve sort of adopted them,” Ruiz said of the 30 3- to 5-year-olds. “We had some extra back funds and one of the girls went out to Toys R Us.”
Officers and staff from Ald. Sandi Jackson’s 7th Ward office passed out gifts to the eager kids after they finished a lunch of pizza and fried chicken. They beamed as they tore the wrapping off of Barbie dolls and toy trucks.
“I really appreciate it. I think it’s so thoughtful to care about the children and show them that the police aren’t to be feared,” Collins said. “It teaches them the police are community leaders.”
Jackson was on hand to lead the kids in Christmas carols and read them a story about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
“Thank you, Santa,” the kids yelled jumping up and down.
With presents in hand, the kids posed for a quick photo and then trundled back down the street to preschool.