Lt. Moises M. Soria, AA/Public Information Officer
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
CDCR officers and administrators, police, fire, ambulance, nurses and doctors pooled resources, donned uniforms and went on a shopping trip with underprivileged children.
Chuckwalla Vallley State Prison and Ironwood State Prison hosted the annual Civil Servants for Santa event in Blythe. The children are identified by the Riverside County Child Services and the Palo Verde Unified School District to be taken on a one-day shopping extravaganza at a local retail store, this time K-Mart in Blythe.
The goal was to raise funds for 100 children in the Palo Verde Valley. Through generous donations by law enforcement agencies and the community, the goal was met. The children were selected based on their unique and distressing situations. Each child selected was sent a letter to their parents or guardians, notifying them their child was selected to participate in the program.
The children arrived at 8 a.m. on Dec. 17 at the Joe Wine Recreation Center on South Main Street in Blythe. While at the Recreation Center, the Civil Servants arrived, ready to take the children shopping.
Santa Claus arrived via a shiny fire engine, which brought countless smiles and excitement among the children.
The children sang Christmas songs and boarded buses that were provided by the Palo Verde Transit Agency. The buses were escorted in a parade by the Civil Servants agency vehicles, which proceeded to K-Mart where each child would be escorted by one of the many Civil Servants to shop for Christmas presents.
Participating agencies and major donors:
- Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
- Ironwood State Prison
- Blythe Police Department/Police Activity League (PAL) – Shelly Penley
- Blythe Fire Department
- California Highway Patrol
- Riverside County Sheriff’s Department
- Cal Fire
- Blythe Ambulance
- Reach Air Ambulance
- Desert Air Ambulance
- Palo Verde Hospital
- Riverside County Probation Department
- Arizona Department of Transportation
- K-Mart Stores
- Mallet Trucking
- Dobbs TV and Appliances/Ashley Furniture
- Palo Verde Transit Agency/Desert Roadrunner
- Joe Wine Recreation Center and staff (Jennifer Nugent)
- Inland Builders Supply/Ace Hardware
- Dollar Tree
- Santa Claus
Six years of helping kids
The Civil Servants for Santa program began on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, when the CVSP/ISP Citizens Advisory Committee made a motion to initiate a program similar to Shop with a Cop. The motion was accepted, and several local agencies indicated they were interested and would participate. The agencies involved voted to name the new program Civil Servants for Santa.