SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Law enforcement by trade, Santa's helpers by choice. California Highway Patrol kicked off its annual Chips for Kids Toy Drive Friday.
All month long, officers are collecting gifts for local kids in need.
"Law enforcement isn't all about writing citations or arresting people,” said CHP Spokesperson Ray Payton. “It’s also about building that trust, showing people that we're human too and that we're here to serve and help the public.”
On an everyday shopping trip at a local Walgreens on Midway Drive, families were greeted by CHP officers in uniform and mascot Chipper.
We saw what was happening and thought we'd stop to see if we could help here,” said Jill Peterson, who donated to the CHP.
For 28 years, the CHP has hosted its Chips for Kids Toy Drive, and for the last three years in San Diego the public can donate to any CHP office, Walgreens, Red Robin or Waste Management location.
“We're all doing a little part in helping Santa to be able to bring those toys to the children,” continued Payton.
“Everybody should give up one Starbucks a day so that you can give up a toy,” said Martina Ramos, who dropped off a toy Harley-Davidson.
The drive collects cool gifts for kids who may go without this Christmas and it also allows the community to see beyond the badge.
From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Dora the Explorer, the public has been generous.
"We have a little bit of everything which is great and just the support we have been receiving this morning is amazing,” said Payton.
The drive continues until Christmas Eve and donations are accepted at any CHP office, Walgreens, Red Robin or Waste Management location.