Deputies stand in for Santa Claus

first_imgPALMDALE – When the patrol car pulled up at the front yard where 10-year-old Yesenia Ayala was sitting on a block wall with friends Michiko and Yukiko Lopez, she thought it was to tell them they were doing something they shouldn’t. Instead, Deputy Dave Jennings asked the girls if they wanted some toys. Yesenia picked a Barbie doll from the patrol car’s overflowing back seat. “I saw the toys and got surprised.” said Yesenia. The girls were the first recipients Thursday in a Palmdale tradition: sheriff’s deputies driving around downtown neighborhoods the week before Christmas to hand out donated toys to youngsters. “We know some of them have a tough time in making the transition back to civilian life and it can be an equally tough burden on the families when their husband or father is deployed,” Jennings said. Most of the presents came from a benefit bicycle ride arranged Dec. 11 by Bicycle John’s, an Acton bicycle shop. The entry fee was $15, or a new unwrapped toy. Many of the riders brought several toys, or made cash contributions two or three times the entry fee, Jennings said. Many other toys were dropped off at the station for deputies to give to any needy children they knew about. “It seems like every time I came in, somebody from the community had come in and dropped off a bag of toys or stuffed animals, unsolicited and anonymous, for the most part,” Jennings said. — Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Barely enough room was left in the patrol car for Jennings, with the remainder filled with stuffed animals, board games, action figures, dolls, and even a bicycle and a skateboard. “We’re just going to find kids out playing on the streets and hand out toys randomly,” said Jennings, making his fourth pre-Christmas tour as a khaki-clad Santa substitute. Palmdale sheriff’s station deputies had already made deliveries to 10 local military families and to a dozen other families that deputies knew about in which parents were out of work, a grandmother had taken in her grandchildren, or other needs existed. The military families came from Marine helicopter squadrons based at Edwards Air Force Base and the National Guard company headquartered in Palmdale, both back from Iraq earlier this year. Palmdale deputies always try to help local military families, Jennings said.last_img read more