The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office gathered with Walmart, Woodforest Bank and Waste Connections to finalize purchases of gifts for kids in Montgomery County for the third annual Operation Blue Elf.
The final purchases were made on Dec. 5 at the Walmart at I-45 and Highway 242.
“This is our third Operation Blue Elf, and it’s probably going to be our largest. We tried to do the cutoff this year at 1,000 kids, but they kept pouring in, so at last count, we were a little over 1100 kids in need, identified by school counselors,” said Sheriff Rand Henderson.
Sheriff Henderson said the Conroe ISD identifies through school counselors, kids who are in need, who wouldn’t otherwise have any Christmas gifts.
“Our commitment to them is to provide a new wrapped, age and gender specific toy for every child in need, and then also the Winter Wonderland Christmas Experience, that we provide for them through volunteer efforts,” said Henderson. We’ll have a Santa Claus and a Mrs. Claus generally, snow machine and a petting zoo, so a lot of different things for the kids to make the day special for them.”
Henderson said they receive monetary donations that allows them to purchase the gifts, so that helps a lot.
“We get gift cards. Right now we’re standing at Walmart, where there’s a joint effort between them and Woodforest Bank, whose one of our great partners. Without them this absolutely wouldn’t be possible.”
Patricia Brown, President of Woodforest Bank Conroe market, said they’ve been participating in Operation Blue Elf since it started.
“When the Sheriff’s Department called us, Lieutenant Spencer and Sheriff Henderson, we were all in, we said yes. That was an awesome opportunity to back our local law enforcement,” sad Brown. We’re always for that group, however we can help.”
Brown said they’ve even gone out to the gift-giving when the families come, which she says is very awesome to see.
“They’ve had this down to an efficiency, there’s no question about it; the partnership with Walmart. So, for us, we are partnered with Walmart as well. When we told Walmart about the opportunity, especially with the bikes, and that’s what we’re a part of, they were able to give some really great pricing, be able to assist in assembling as well as streamlining the gift process of shopping,” said Brown.
Keith Gordon is with Waste Connections, who helped put the bikes together that the kids will receive.
“For about 19 years, we’ve done what we call a Christmas Promise Bike Build. We go out, raise money, buy and build bikes and then we turn them over to charities in support of children at risk and at need,” said Gordon. This is our second year being able to partner with the Sheriff’s Department and Operation Blue Elf.”
Gordon said they help charities across the country, and their goal this year is to build about 10,000 bikes across the United States and Canada.