Blue Santa volunteers sorted through boxes filled with hundreds of toys stacked inside a room at Dell Children's Medical Center Monday. There were enough gifts for nearly 200 kids who are spending their Christmas away from home.
"Just a little something to help remind you what Christmas is about," said Austin Police Department Sgt. Jeff Crawford.
He helped divide the gifts by age group before officers and volunteers go room to room, floor to floor.
In addition to gifts, 8-year-old Tyler House received a dose of Christmas carols led by Chief Art Acevedo.
"That was awesome," said her mom Carolyn House. "That was such a special moment for our family and it just brightened her day."
Tyler suffers from sickle cell anemia which has brought on acute chest syndrome. She has been in the hospital for a couple weeks, but now it feels more like the holidays.
"It really does seem like we're having a Christmas, it makes the holiday special," Carolyn told FOX 7. That's thanks to the singing Santas in blue and generous donations from the community.
"If you think about what's happened this year, everything that's going on not only with Newtown, when we were in the middle of our operation, but what happened in our own city with the Christmas bureau, the City of Austin, people of Austin responded and we're so excited we're here this morning," said Chief Art Acevedo.
This year, Blue Santa took on an additional 1,500 families that registered with the Christmas Bureau which is under investigation for false and deceptive practices.
"This year we had some tremendous adversity and when you see the response it's just so heartwarming," said Chief Acevedo. So they're spreading that cheer to those who need it most right now.
"It's seeing them in here and still with smiles on their faces, despite what they're going through and will continue to go through," Sgt. Crawford said. "Kind of really takes you back and makes you realize it's not what's under the tree, but what you've got that's of real value to you."