With the Christmas season fast approaching, the annual Putnam County FOP "Santa Drop" efforts are under way and have gotten a surprising head start.
For Assistant Chief Brian Hopkins of the Greencastle City Police Department must feel as though Santa Claus has already paid him an early, unexpected visit.
"To my surprise," Hopkins explained. "I came into my office on Wednesday morning to find an envelope containing money.
"I later found out it was from Taylor Golden, a seven-year-old Greencastle girl who had operated a very successful lemonade stand over the summer and wanted to help others," Hopkins continued.
"So she decided that with Christmas being just around the corner she would donate the money to the FOP Santa Drop."
For the past 16 years Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 92 has delivered toys to needy children in Putnam County as part of a program known as the FOP Santa Drop.
"Taylor is a great example of someone that is willing to give what they have to someone else that is less fortunate," Hopkins praised.
Adding to Hopkins' surprise was the arrival of a check from Follow the Hook Rise, a motorcycle group from Spencer. The group had conducted a recent fun run, raising money to give to a charity, and decided to donate to the FOP Santa Drop.
Last year was biggest yet for the Santa Drop, providing toys to more than 38 Putnam County children. Not only did youngsters receive toys last year but they also got such needed items as coats, winter boots and hats, gloves and school supplies.
With this year's campaign under way, the Putnam County Fraternal Order of Police would again like the public's help in assisting county children who might not otherwise have such a merry Christmas.
Hopkins noted that 100 percent of all donations to the Santa Drop will go toward presents for kids. The applications are thoroughly screened and sorted, he said, with the most needy kids at the top of the list.
The donations are used to presents, which are then wrapped and delivered by Santa Claus.
Donations can be dropped off at the Greencastle Police Department or mailed to GPD at 600 N. Jackson St., Greencastle, IN 46135.
Anyone with a question about the FOP project may contact Assistant Chief Hopkins at 848-1539 or Darcy Hendershot at 848-1540.
If your family or someone you know is in need, applications can be picked up at the Greencastle Police Department during normal business hours.
The deadline for dropping off applications is Dec. 2.