“Are they here yet?” asked Community Relations Officer Charlie Kline, moments before Philadelphia’s 5th Police District welcomed local students to its 44th annual Christmas party on Wednesday.
Every holiday season, a second grade class is selected from a local elementary school to come to the Ridge Avenue station for a day of food, entertainment and gifts. This year, the lucky students were from James Dobson Elementary School on Umbria Street in Roxborough.
Kline and other 5th District officers joined in on the caroling and games while Kline coordinated the pizza delivery, a Mummers band performance and the arrival of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus on a fire truck.
Each child received at least two presents, one from Santa and one from the police station.
Kline said that without sponsors like Restaurant Depot, Penn Distributors, Secret Garden and private sponsors, the party wouldn’t be possible. He added that it’s something the officers look forward to every year.
Student Jayla Clark, 7, was excited to see Santa and give him her wish list, which included a Justin Bieber poster. Koen Kaschock-Marenda said he wanted a gumball machine this year. Although they didn’t get their exact wish, they smiled ear to ear when they received their presents and a candy cane.
Sergent Michael Wiercinski praised Kline’s hard work saying that he and the hearts of his colleagues are warmed every year by the event.
“No matter how bad the rest of the world is, when you see a kid seeing Santa, there’s something magical about it.”