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COSTA MESA : 186 Families Helped in Police Giveaway

December 25, 1991|MARY ANNE PEREZ

A Christmas giveaway sponsored by Costa Mesa police helped 186 families this year, a sizable increase over the projected 50 families that were to be adopted by the department.

Officers--one of them dressed as Santa Claus--delivered toys and turkey-and-ham dinners all day Monday, Lt. Jim Watson said. Some families picked up their gifts from the Westside substation on 18th Street. On Tuesday afternoon, officers delivered more toys to children at Hoag Hospital.

"We had quite a few donations," he said, "and a number of families came to our attention. We let it mushroom into what it was."

Most of the families have children in Costa Mesa schools or have sought help at Share Our Selves or at the Orange Coast Interfaith Shelter, Watson said.

Officer Tom Pipes kept a list of the children on a computer to match their ages with the right toy and to make sure no child was missed, Watson said. Gifts and toys were handed out to all ages, from infants to teen-agers, he said.

City Hall employees helped to wrap presents, and firefighters gathered and delivered the goods. Food donations from merchants and money from businesses and individuals helped the effort, Watson said, adding that the police association contributed money, and 15 to 20 officers from the department helped coordinate the program.

The giveaway, which started five years ago, was given an added boost this year with $5,000 raised through a pops concert Sunday by the South Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra.

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